The Secret of the Red Tide

Why does the stunning bioluminescence in the ocean, often described as ‘sea sparkle’ or ‘milky seas’ and known for its beautiful blue-green glow at night, appear so different during the day? Commonly referred to as red tide, the ocean water appears murky, often with a brown or red tone. In some parts of the Pacific Ocean, red tides may occur more frequently during the warmer months when water temperatures are higher, and sunlight is more abundant.

In this program, Drew Lucas from Scripps Institution of Oceanography delves into the intriguing phenomenon of red tides. He talks about the behaviors of Lingulodinium polyedra, the primary organism behind these glowing marine events.

Lucas offers an in-depth look at marine ecology and underscores the vital role of technological innovation in oceanographic research. Lucas’s groundbreaking research, featuring tools like an underwater microscope and a wave-powered profiling device, sheds light on the red tide’s secrets. He provides insight into the complex swimming patterns of phytoplankton, their nutrient uptake strategies, and the resulting effects on marine ecosystems.

Watch Understanding the Red Time Phenomenon.