Red tide causing surf to glow in parts of California

Credit Jami Leslie Feldman

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography shared a photo on Wednesday showing a radiating blue light coming from the waves near a beach in San Diego.

A red tide developed off parts of Southern California has left several beachgoers stunned by the display of eerie bioluminescence light.

Breathtaking neon blue waves have been lighting up the ocean near San Diego, Calif., since Monday. It's not clear how long the red tide or the ocean bioluminescence will last. In the past, blooms have lasted anywhere from a week to a month or more.

While the dramatic glow of the red tide was not visible, breaking waves did have a glowing hue.

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While there is no guarantee you'll be able to see it, scientists recommend to trying to take in the magical sight of the bioluminescence at dark about two hours after sunset. "A small percentage of algae, however, produce powerful toxins that can kill fish, shellfish, mammals, and birds, and may directly or indirectly cause illness in people". However, it's still best to be cautious around the bloom.

"Based on analysis of a water sample provided by Scripps collector Phil Zerofski, the water contains dense numbers of dinoflagellates especially Ceratium falcatiforme and Lingulodinium polyedra, As L. polyedra (formerly Gonyaulax polyedra) is well known for its bioluminescent displays, there may be some nice light shows tonight", Latz said in an email.

Red tides are unpredictable events and do not always give off bioluminescence, Scripps said. It's caused by a collection of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates, some of which are known for their bioluminescence. During the day, organisms will swim to the surface to soak in sunlight.

Written by Mark Saunders for KGTV.

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