Home Christmas These boaters captured “luminous dolphins” on video and it’s the coolest thing you’ll see today
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These boaters captured “luminous dolphins” on video and it’s the coolest thing you’ll see today

by Ünal Güler

Newport Coastal Adventure guides are experienced in tracking wildlife in the waters off Southern California. Earlier this week they captured something that looked a little out of this world.

Newport Coastal Adventure Luminous Dolphins video - image of the moon in the dark sky over the ocean
Have you ever seen glowing dolphins?

Glowing Dolphins

Just after sunset, a pod of dolphins appeared next to their boat… and they looked like they were glowing! Thankfully, the boaters managed to capture this awe-inspiring and mesmerizing sight on video for the whole world to see.

In the video, it looks like the dolphins are emitting neon blue light. You look magical. And to be honest, it looks a bit unreal! But the craziest thing of all? This glow is actually a natural phenomenon caused by a type of phytoplankton.

What makes the dolphins look like they’re glowing?

The appearance of a glowing, bioluminescent light is actually caused by the presence in the water of microbes called phytoplankton, which are tiny marine bacteria, plants or animals.

The most common type of phytoplankton are the so-called dinoflagellates. And dinoflagellates are found in the waters off California. When these dinoflagellates are disturbed—for example, by a pod of dolphins swimming by—they emit a glowing light.

In other words, the dolphins may look like they’re glowing, but they’re not! Rather, when the dolphins swim through the water containing the dinoflagellates, they cause the dinoflagellates to emit a bioluminescent light. The dolphins then reflect this light. It is a 100% natural phenomenon! Nature is just amazing.

More interesting facts about bioluminescence

Dinoflagellates are one of the main reasons for bioluminescence, i.e. the appearance of glowing water. Biologists believe the main reason phytoplankton emit a glowing light is to deter marine predators!

Bioluminescent Waves

Bioluminescent waves – an incredibly beautiful sight – can be observed in the world’s oceans at night.

Despite this, they are incredibly unpredictable, which is what makes the video of the dolphins so downright cool.

We can watch the video over and over again and marvel at the incredible beauty and power of nature.

More resources to learn about glowing phytoplankton

Are your kids fascinated by glowing sea creatures, plants and bacteria?

With the Netflix series “Night on Earth” and the entertaining and informative book you can learn more about this natural phenomenon “Glow: Animals with their own night lights‘ by WH Beck.

More fun for kids from the Kids Activities Blog

Loved seeing the glowing dolphins?

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