Bioluminescence Bay Stops GlowingBy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - November 20, 2013
A bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico has lost its glow and scientists are anxious to find out why. The bioluminescent bay, also called Mosquito Bay and The Bio Bay, is listed as a national natural landmark. The bioluminescence comes from the millions micro-organisms, called Pyrodinium bahamense, which glow whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a trail of neon blue.
In order for these organisms to grow, certain conditions have to be met. The red mangrove trees that surround the water are believed to attract the micro-organisms, and the water temperatures and small channels help keep the organisms trapped in the bay.
The Bio Bay has been a tourist attraction in the area for many years and there are many tours that take travelers to the bay where they can touch the water and see the glow themselves. But now that the bay has lost its glow, many tours are shutting down.
Biologists are searching for a reason behind the lost glow. Many believe that the recent increase in sewage being dumped into the lagoon has likely killed the micro-organisms and caused the bay to lose its luminescence. The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico has taken water samples and will test them to see if they can determine the cause of the black out.
This isn’t the first time the bay has went dark. In 2003, the bay went nearly dark and scientists were unable to determine a reason for it. Luckily, the bay recovered and began glowing again. Biologists hope this will be the case with the current black out as well.
Image from YouTube.