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A photographer caught the amazing moment when a pod of dolphins turned bioluminescent – and it looks just like something from Avatar.
The incredible footage was taken by Patrick Coyne when he spotted the dolphins at Newport Beach, California, on April 15.
In the clip, you see the dolphins swimming along trailed by an electric blue haze – and no, they haven’t eaten a glow stick.
You can watch the whole footage here:
Patrick also witnessed the bioluminescence as the waves crashed onto Newport Beach.
Sharing the clip on Instagram, he wrote on April 17 that ‘last nights bioluminescence in Newport Beach was incredible! So far it’s the brightest I’ve ever seen’.
As magical as the waves and dolphins appeared, they didn’t come about through witchcraft – the explanation behind the bright colours is thought to be due to a biochemical reaction.
Marine biologist Enrique Ayala Duval explained the process on sabersifin.com:
Bioluminescence is the light produced by living organisms, as a result of a biochemical reaction in which most of the time luciferin (a protein), molecular oxygen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) take part, which react by the luciferase enzyme as follows way: oxygen oxidizes luciferin; Luciferase speeds up the reaction and ATP provides the energy for the reaction, producing water and light, which is very noticeable at night; As in any reaction in which an enzyme is involved, it is recovered and remains available to catalyze more luciferin and oxygen.
That’s a lot of big words, I know. Basically it’s science, bitch.
Duval said that it’s due to evolution that bioluminescence exists, explaining:
There is a hypothesis that the bioluminescence that exists today is the result of evolution: initially, when the Earth’s atmosphere had an almost zero concentration of oxygen and oxygen was gradually increasing due to the increasing presence of photosynthetic organisms, organisms were released from oxygen, which was then toxic to them, with the bioluminescence reaction, producing water.
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You can see the natural phenomenon at some beaches in Mexico too. There have been sightings at several, including: Isla Holbox, Quintana Roo; Chacahua, Oaxaca; Xpicob, Campeche; Lagoons of Manialtepec, Oaxaca; and Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit.
It’s said the lights get so bright at Xpicob, you’re able to see the fish at the bottom of the ocean!
After seeing these amazing videos and pictures, visiting one of these beaches is definitely on my bucket list.
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