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Nature & Environment

New video shows dolphins glowing in the ocean

By T.K. Randall
April 28, 2020 · Comment icon 8 comments

These glowing dolphins are quite the spectacle. Image Credit: YouTube / Patrickc_la
Photographer Patrick Coyne has captured incredible footage of dolphins swimming in bioluminescent waters.
The ethereal scene, which could easily be mistaken for something out of a science-fiction movie, was filmed recently in the ocean off California's Newport beach.

Coyne, who had previously seen glowing dolphins on a Netflix documentary, had been keen to capture the phenomenon for himself and had spent hours searching after dark for a sign of the animals.

"We were out for a few hours and on our final stretch back we finally had 2 Dolphins pop up to start the incredible glowing show," he wrote on Instagram.

"A few minutes later and we were greeted by a few more which was insane. I'm honestly still processing this all..."
Despite appearances, it is not actually the dolphins themselves that are glowing - instead they are swimming through concentrations of microscopic bioluminescent organisms called dinoflagellates.

When disturbed, each cell emits a flash of light lasting mere milliseconds.

When a pod of dolphins swims through a large number of them, it can produce quite the light show.

You can check out the footage Coyne captured below.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by glorybebe 4 years ago
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
Beautiful. Looks like something from a psychedelic video game. Or a dream.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
So freakin beautiful !
Comment icon #4 Posted by Not A Rockstar 4 years ago
I saw this once, sitting out in the dark on the beach in Destin. At first, I doubted my eyes, then finally realized it was real and enjoyed my little marvelous night of wonder. It was just minor, flashes like lightning through the waves as they washed up, but it was pretty awesome  
Comment icon #5 Posted by MissJatti 4 years ago
Awee that's so cool 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Robotic Jew 4 years ago
They're getting ready to go home!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Robotic Jew 4 years ago
On a serious note could you imagine what would be going through your mind if it was hundreds of years ago and you had no idea what bioluminescence was and you saw something like this as you were sailing away from home? 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Festina 4 years ago
When I was teen I met a beautiful boy on the beach at night.  I’ll never forgot our encounter. He walked me over to the surf and ran his hands through the sand where it met the surf — thousands of stars in the sands. I had no idea.  One of those precious moments.  He walked away — never saw him again but I never forgot and think of him often.  

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