'Sea sparkle' algae lights up Tasmanian beach - BBC News

A recent large algal bloom has turned an Australian beach into a beautiful glowing bright blue. But this natural phenomenon is not exactly what you would expect. The bioluminescent algae, which is also known as sea sparkle, occurs when the tiny organisms in the ocean emit light as a defense mechanism. The natural occurrence is being enjoyed by the locals of Tasmania's Preservation Bay. The natural phenomenon is usually seen in calm waters. The algae are not toxic, but it can cause skin irritations in some people. The algae make the water look a lovely iridescent blue. The algae are officially called Noctiluca scintillans, the species uses the bioluminescence for protection, acting like a burglar alarm. So it works in the way if something wants to eat the algae it flashes at it and then scares it away. This alga isn't all good as it can disrupt the food chain.

With a big bloom such as the one that is recently happening it can behave a bit like a vacuum cleaner, eating everything away.

Noctiluca scintillans can be found widely distributed throughout the world and is often found along the coast, in estuaries, and in shallow areas of the continental shelf that receive plenty of light. The natural light phenomena promote the growth of the phytoplankton that makes up a large portion of the Noctiluca scintillans diet. The glow that is produced by the noctiluca scintillans organisms can be perceived by humans as a ghostly, magically colored glow or bloom in the water. The glow appears when the water is disturbed. Some of the names that are given to the noctiluca scintillans include sea ghost or fire of sea. And while the noctiluca scintillans do not appear to be toxic, they feed voraciously on the phytoplankton, and they accumulate and excrete high levels of ammonia into the surrounding area. If you want a chance to see this gorgeous glowing sight, you don't have to travel all the way to Tasmania. This natural phenomenon also happens in other parts of the world including Peurto Rico, so you have a couple of tropical places to pick from if you are so lucky to be there at just the right time.

Tasmania also known as Tas and or Tassie is an island state that is part of the Commonwealth of Australia. The island is located 150 miles to the south of the Australian mainland and separated by the Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, which is the 26th-largest island in the world and includes the surrounding 334 islands. Tasmania is promoted as a natural state as almost 45 percent of Tasmania lies in reserves, World Heritage Sites, and national parks. The island state was the founding place of the first environmental party in the world. The island state is believed to have been occupied by Aboriginals for more than 40,000 years before the British colonization. It is thought that the Tasmanian Aboriginals were separated from the mainland Aboriginal groups over 10,000 years ago when the sea rose to form the Bass Strait. The Aboriginal population of the island was estimated to have been between 3,000 and 7,000 at the time of the colonization but was later almost wiped out within 30 years by a combination of violent guerrilla conflict with settlers that was known as the Black War an intertribal conflict. And from the late 1820s, the spread of infectious diseases to which the Aboriginal people had no immunity.

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