Splash around and see what the night brings

dinoflagellates glowing at the ocean's edge

I stumbled upon this phenomenon by mistake several years ago while swimming with some friends at the beach. It was a clear August night and the water was warm. We decided to go in for a dip, and to our surprise our splashing triggered an explosion of light! We couldn't believe our eyes.
 
They were dinoflagellates which are one of the more dominant species of phytoplankton in the Gulf of Maine. When disturbed certain dinoflagellates luminesce or glow through a chemical reaction known as biolouminescence.
 
Phytoplankton are microscopic algae that float in the surface waters of the ocean. They are crucial to the functioning of the ocean, forming the foundation of the food chain. Many species including sea sponges, clams, mussels, herring and whales all consume phytoplankton in some way, shape or form. 
 
Personally it's not my favorite midnight snack, but I do encourage you to splash around while the water is warm and see what the night brings.