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5 bizarre algal blooms

By: Bryan Nelson on Sept. 6, 2013, 10:31 a.m.
glowing waves at La Jolla Cove glows under a crescent moon.

Photo: Kevin Key/Shutterstock

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Glowing waves

The most magical algal blooms in the world might be those that occur along the southern coast of California, where the shorebreak occasionally glows with an otherworldly majesty. A bioluminescent species of phytoplankton there called Lingulodinium polyedrum emits a neon-blue light in response to stress, causing the waves to light up as they crash.

It's a spectacular sight to witness. Surfers even occasionally use the opportunity to hang 10 in the sparkling sea. Watch them ride the glistening waves below.