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.
Thank you Robert Lafreniere from New Hampshire Fish and Game for being so accommodating to our NH Beach Profiling program this year! As you know we have several sites in the Hampton and Seabrook dunes which are habitat for the endangered Piping Plover. Collaborating with NHFG is a great example of how two organizations can work together to help preserve a resilient seacoast. Robert has a few words about the the plover season below and again a huge thank you to everyone involved.