This glistening beach is not part of a magical Disney or Pixar sequence – it’s actually a perfectly natural occurrence. These glistening dots of light, captured on a beach in the Maldives by Taiwanese photographer William Ho, are caused by microscopic organisms called bioluminescent phytoplankton, or Lingulodinium polyedrum for the scientifically inclined.
These plankton are part of a red tide, which is when the population of phytoplankton like these explodes in a certain location, coloring the water a dull orange-red. Some of the organisms that form red tides are directly toxic to marine wildlife and humans, while others simply produce toxins that accrue in shellfish, making them unsafe to eat. [Read more...]
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