What Pulled the Plug on the Bioluminescent Bay?
Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays. This fall, one of the bays temporarily lost its glow. Marine biologist Edith Widder discusses the biology of the bays and what might have caused the water to go dark.
The video below reveals bioluminescence in action as barnacles feed on bioluminescent dinoflagellates. The dinoflagellates produce flashes of light when they encounter a shear stress sufficient to deflect their cell membrane, which initiates an action potential that triggers the light-producing chemical reaction.
Edith Widder is CEO and senior scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Inc. in Fort Pierce, Florida.