What are Dinoflagellate?

Bioluminescent dinoflagellates are single-celled organisms that are found primarily in the coastal regions. They are a form of plankton that floats on the surface of the ocean and they emit light thanks to a chemical reaction that occurs in the cells. There is a bio bay in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands that has a very high concentration of these bioluminescent dinoflagellates.
These organisms are surprisingly common, and range in size from between 30 micrometers to 1mm. They are found all over the world, but they often go un-noticed unless there is a huge number of them present; in which case they can cause a red tide because there are so many of them. At night, they create spectacular displays with their bioluminescence.
One high profile occurrence of bioluminescent dinoflagellates occurred in October 2011, in San Diego, when there was a red tide made up of Add to super polyhedron, which was caught on camera and attracted a lot of media attention.
dinoflagellates
It is hard to predict when a red tide is going to happen, and the tides don’t tend to last very long at all �” but there are some parts of the world where they are common. Puerto Rico, for example, is home to bioluminescent plankton throughout the year, and you can go to swim in the waters and enjoy the amazing views.
Scientists are still trying to understand the role of bioluminescence. The current belief is that dinoflagellate luminesce in flashes that startle the predators that eat them, disrupting their feeding behavior and resulting in fewer of the organisms being eaten. In addition, it is thought that the bioluminescence acts like a burglar alarm �” when a predator shows up to eat the dinoflagellate, they will glow, attracting a second predator that will eat the first one.  The luminescence is caused by mechanical stress �” such as that caused when the organisms are attacked.
Dinoflagellate bioluminescence is a complex process, and it is only partly understood. It is thought that the glow happens because of a fall in pH when protons are released in the cell. It takes just 20ms to trigger the glow, making it one of the most rapid cellular processes that science is aware of. A single flash lasts around 100ms, and a cell can flash more than once, but there is a limit to the number of flashes possible. When a cell runs out of luciferin it cannot flash until it has replenished its chemicals, something that will happen during the day.

Understanding the Phenomenon of Bioluminescence

What is Bioluminescence?

Bioluminesence is the scientific term used to describe the production of light by a living organism. There are many bioluminescent creatures found in the water. Some of them are found deep at the bottom of the sea, others on the surface of the ocean.
The light that is produced by bioluminescent life forms is produced because of the energy that is released as a result of chemical reactions that occur inside the organism �” or, in some case, in the reactions that occur in chemicals that the creature excretes.
bio bay swimming
Fireflies are another bioluminescent organism �” and one that most people are familiar with. Ocean-dwelling bioluminescent organisms are far more common that you might think. Indeed, there are a huge number of bacteria that are bioluminescent, and there are even some bigger animals that can create light, as well.
The function of bioluminescence is not always clear.  Some creatures use it to detect prey, or to lure prey to a given area. Some use it for communication. You can actually see bioluminescence on a bioluminescence kayak tour in the Cayman Islands. It is an incredible thing to behold, especially when it is done by bigger creatures. Jellyfish, starfish, squid, and even sharks have bioluminescent creatures among their members.
Bioluminescent organisms use an enzyme and a substrate to create light, but the exact chemicals differ between species. The ability to make light is something that is thought to have evolved on many occasions throughout history. Scientists have so far identified 40 occasions where the ability has evolved independently.
Light is important in the ocean �” even though deep ocean environments do not get daylight on their own, it benefits creatures to be able to see, so the ability to luminesce is a survival advantage for those organisms, because it helps them to find food, and to perform reproductive functions. It can also give them a communication and defense mechanism.

Scientists do not know a lot about the living light, and it is hard to know exactly how the creatures use their abilities, because the organisms are hard to observe. Man-made lights used on cameras could permanently blind the animals, or at the very least scare them away, and some animals are camouflaged or transparent, so are hard to see on camera. Others glow with a light that is not easy to detect with a camera. It is hard to collect samples of the animals and watching them in their native habitat is a challenge.

All About the Tourist Attraction Known As Stingray City

In the shallow waters of the Grand Cayman is a wonderful tourist attraction known as Stingray City. Whether you enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, boating, or interacting with beautiful marine wildlife, this location has something for everyone who wants to visit. In this article, we will discuss some of the facts about Stingray City, and how it came to be the attraction that it is today.
southern ray
Like the name suggests, Stingray City Grand Cayman allows individuals to see and interact with the animal known as the stingray. The city is made up of sandbars that are shallow, and great for people to swim in and see these animals. Petting is also able to be done.
Stingray City’s history is one that’s colorful and unique. It might be that stingrays started assembling in the territory decades back when angler coming back from a journey, where they explored behind a reef going into the sound, and began to clean their fish in the quiet water of the shallows and sandbar zone. The fish guts and squid were tossed over the edge and the stingrays in the long run congregated to devour there. Before long, the stingrays related the sound of a boat’s motor with sustenance and delicious food. As this practice transformed into a custom, scuba divers understood that the stingrays could be nourished by hand.
Today, visit and trip pontoons, alongside private water crafts, accumulate at Stingray City in extensive numbers. There is a wide assortment of organizations that offer Stingray City trips, which all have their own remarkable elements. Travelers land and enter the trunk high water to connect with the stingrays. The vessels’ proprietors carry alongside them buckets of lumped up squid meat, which they apportion by hand to the creatures, in this manner drawing in many the animals to the nourishing spot. Guests can visit Stingray City and pet stingrays, while remaining in just 3 feet of water. There are however developing worries about modifications in conduct, encouraging examples and general biology of these beams, when contrasted with beams not getting supplemental nourishment.
In conclusion, Stingray City is a lovely area that allows visitors to not only interact and feed the stingrays that collect there, but to enjoy the wonderful beauty of the Grand Cayman. If you find yourself vacationing to this area, be sure to come and visit Stingray City. You’ll return home with a plethora of memories that will last you for a lifetime.

The Mesmerizing Nature Of Bioluminescent Plankton

Even though human imagination has created some of the most mesmerizing creations in the world, we cannot top what Mother Nature has done. The world is full creatures that leave us in awe whenever we see them and nothing is more mesmerizing than the bioluminescent plankton.

Planktons are any sea drifting organisms inhabiting the oceans. They can be animals or plants and they are a vital source of food for large animals, especially sea mammals. They thus play an important role in the marine food chain. Bioluminescent plankton are plankton that produce light at night yielding an unmistakable glow.

The Glow Producing Process

The glow is produced during a high-stress situation. Scientists have reckoned that the glow is produced as a defensive maneuver, during which the light is intended to disorient the predator or attract other large predators that pose a threat to the plankton’s predator. It is, however, difficult to precisely determine the exact function of the glow owing to the wide variety of marine flora and fauna that glow.

The process of producing the glow involves chemicals known as luciferins. However, a catalyst, which is known as luciferase, initiates the oxidation process that results to the glow in plankton. The biochemical process results in cold light produced with little heat emission. Approximately only 20% of the Bioluminescent Plankton is produced as a result of heat.

The Best Places To See Bioluminescent Plankton

Unfortunately, not all beaches around the world contain these planktons. For starters, plankton thrive in warm climates, thus restricting their presence in the areas that have warm climates. However, even in the warm climate, bioluminescent plankton presence is never guaranteed.

Among the best places to view glowing plankton, include the Australia, the Maldives, Vietnam, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Los Angeles. The Maldives is probably the surest destination for glowing plankton sighting.