The brightness of the phytoplankton

In recent years – especially with the democratization of the technologies that allow taking pictures and almost instantaneously sharing them with the whole world – the plânctones have become mediatic and famous because of the fluorescent glow that they produce.

From the Maldives to Australia are several reported cases of tides of bioluminescent phytoplankton, small organisms that emit light when under stress, whether by the sound of the waves or disturbance caused by surfboards or other objects in the water.

One of these phenomena was captured by photographer Andy Hutchinson’s lenses at Jervis Beach, Australia. “It was a supernatural scene,” the photographer explained. “The brightness is caused by the scintillans noctiluca, a single-celled phytoplankton that grows in spring and autumn, and in 90% of cases it occurs due to natural phenomena,” explained Iain Suthers of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

This “bizarre” phytoplankton is carnivorous, advances Suthers, and emits light through a defense mechanism.

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