What made Chennai beaches sparkle blue in night?
New Delhi : Injambakkam beach in Chennai trended on social media after visitors noticed unusual blue glow in the sea waves on August 18 night. The sparkling blue waves were also noticed at Besant Nagar’s Eliot’s Beach. Several people shared stunning pictures and videos of the view on the social media platforms.
Commonly known as sea tinkle, the Noctiluca algae were behind this phenomenon. The algae exhibit the phenomenon of bioluminescence or biologically produce light when disturbed.
As per scientific explanation, the lights are produced with the chemical reactions in the presence of oxygen involving an enzyme called “luciferase”. Bioluminescence can also be noticed in the fireflies.
While, the pictures look stunning and are trending on social media, the scary thing stays with their arrival. Noctiluca are known to be voracious predators of planktonic organisms(diatoms), leading to disruption of the marine food chain.
“It’s important to remember that this is a sign of a possibly unhealthy ocean. It could be due to excess release of ammonia and lack of oxygen. These microscopic planktons usually bloom in areas where there is an oxygen deficit, and potentially high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, which is usually bad news for the larger marine food web. Ocean warming could also be the reason for this. Studies alone could reveal further details about this bioluminescence,” said Pooja Kumar, Coastal Resource Center, Chennai.
They also produce a large amount of ammonia that causes fish mortality. These algal patches are also linked to coastal pollution and runoff from agricultural areas.
Some researchers have also explained that the formation of algae is an indication of global warming situation in the area.
Check out the images and videos of the spectacular view on the social media: