Have you ever came across any glowing beaches across the world walking at the sea shore in the night? The reason of illuminiscence is Plankton, which makes them glow in the night.
Photo credit: Will Ho
What is Plankton – Definition of plankton?
Planktons are a group of organisms like algae, protists, archaea, bacteria that reside in the middle level to upper level of the ocean which is also known as pelagic zone of the sea. Most of the planktons are microscopic in nature while the largest in size is Jelly fish. A question arises here; does Jelly fish glow in dark? Yes, some of the Jelly fish do glow in dark, furthermore Jelly fish such as sea nettles use luminescence to attract prey or guard themselves from predators, which is the reason they are called as bioluminescent plankton. Their horizontal and vertical position is dependent on the current of the ocean, and they are driven towards the sea shore forming a spectacular view in the night.
Types of Planktons
- Phytoplankton – Planktons like algae which carry photosynthesis with the help of sunlight in the surface of water are called phytoplanktons. They acquire energy through the process of photosynthesis.
- Zooplankton – Zooplanktons are animals mostly found on the surface of the oceans. Now question comes, what do plankton eat? Zooplankton is dependent on phytoplanktons as this is considered as the first in the food chain. They can be microscopic from primitive protozoan to larger animals like Jelly fish.
- Bacterioplankton – Bacterioplanktons are the bacterial part of phytoplanktons mostly found in the surface of the water. They either consume organic materials produced by other organisms and other type of Bacterioplankton also generates energy through the process of photosynthesis which is known as picophytoplankton. Bacterioplanktons help in denitrification, nitrification, remineralisation which helps in the food chain in ecological pathways.
One of the important facts about these glowing planktons is, tiny planktons generate half of the oxygen we breathe. Planktons are normally harmless for animals or humans, unless some changes occur rapidly in the ocean. Sudden changes include pollution from other source of water like adjoining rivers, or storms. Some of the algae are considered killer algae because they contain harmful chemicals, so when these planktons are consumed by fishes, they can get sick or even cause death as well.
Vacation on one of the glowing beaches across the world-
One of the stunning views would be walking across the sea shore in the night and witnessing thousands or millions of tiny stars like organisms across the shore. As the night grows, you see starry sky and stars like glowing planktons on the beach, how spectacular that view would be. You raise your hands in water and pick those glowing planktons on your hands to get a closer view of the tiny stars on the water. Soft cool breeze, starry night, and small stars like planktons on the shore, which is going to be a perfect romantic vacation one can think of. Some of the beaches are specifically known for the planktonic view and this is mostly enjoyed on absolute darkness. Below are the beaches recommended for your romantic tour if you are looking for beaches with planktons for a lifetime memory –
1) Glowing beach Maldives –
Photo credit- Reddit
On top of the list of glowing beaches across the world, Maldives rocks. One of the spectacular views of planktons is witnessed in the glowing beach in Maldives. Vaadhoo Island also known as (Glow beach Maldives) in Maldives is considered heaven on the earth with extravagant views in absolute dark and starry night. Tiny phytoplanktons are washed towards the sea shore which generates the bioluminescence forming a star like structure on the water. This is also known as “Sea of stars” where thousands or millions of phytoplanktons are washed towards the sea shore appearing like a cluster of stars on the water. The planktons are witnessed across the year, so you can plan your trip anytime to this heaven on the earth.
How to reach Vaadhoo Island(Maldives glow beach)-
Vaadhoo Island is just 8 kms from Male airport and can be reached within an hour.
Other things to do at Vaadhoo Island, Maldives–
You get option for Scuba diving here, some scuba diving agencies drives you through in the complete darkness to witness planktons as well. National museum, various spa options are also available at this Island. People opt this Scuba diving option, when one is looking to get a view of Maldives beach glowing.
2) San Diego glowing beach, California –
Photo credit- Los Angeles Times
Second position for glowing beaches across the world is San Diego, where you can witness red tides caused by the decrease in oxygen content in the water caused by exponential growth of the algae( Also known as algae bloom) and it can be harmful to humans as it contains high amount of ammonia but other sea creatures remain safe. But the magnificent view of the red tides is worth watching for a life time. This occurs when the weather is warm, mostly between April and August. At night the color changes to blue which is changed by the waves of the ocean. It is considered one of the best beaches for watching planktons in a beach.
3) Toyama Bay, Japan–
Third position for glowing beaches across the world is Toyama Bay in Japan, also seen with luminescence in the water caused by Squids which are washed towards the sea shore. The best time to see these squids are between March and May of every year. It is also considered that the squids glowing are towards the end of their life cycle. These squids contain large and special light producing organs called as photophore which glows dark blue light and these photophores are found throughout the body of the Squid. They normally inhabit in deep water but they are washed away with the tides towards the shore. Watching these squids glowing could be one the best experiences for a lifetime. It is considered one of the best glowing beaches across the world.