Sea of StarsPinpricks of light on the shore seem to mirror stars above in an undated picture taken on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives. The
biological light, or bioluminescence, in the waves is the product of
marine microbes called phytoplankton—and now scientists think they know
how some of these life-forms create their brilliant blue glow.
been across the Atlantic and Pacific, and I've never seen a spot that
wasn't bioluminescent or a night that [bioluminescence] couldn't be
seen," Hastings said.
The most common type of marine
bioluminescence is generated by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates.
A recent study co-authored by Hastings has for the first time
identified a special channel in the dinoflagellate cell membrane that
responds to electrical signals—offering a potential mechanism for how
the algae create their unique illumination. —Ker ThanPhotograph by Doug Perrine, Alamy