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‘Magical’ Blue Tide Spotted in Mumbai Beaches, Know More About This Natural Phenomenon

Shaunak Modi, the director of Coastal Conservation Foundation said that , the ‘blue tide’ was spotted at 11:45 pm on Tuesday at Juhu Koliwada. This fluorescent occurrence is described as  ‘neeli machli’ (blue fish) by the locals, he said.

Bioluminescent waves at Juhu last night. Magic!

— Shaunak Modi (@Pugdandee) November 25, 2020

He said, “This is a recurring phenomenon which is caused by a bioluminescent plankton called Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as sea sparkle. While smaller blooms may be harmless, slow moving larger blooms may cause severe hypoxic conditions that result in fish die-offs in an area.”

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016 during the months of November and December. In 2016, the phenomenon was spotted for nearly two weeks.

According to E Vivekanandan, consultant and scientist, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, the phenomenon is characterised by the emission of light produced by phytoplanktons (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates. The light is produced through a series of chemical reactions due to luciferase (oxidative enzymes) protein.

“This occurrence could be taking place along several areas on the west coast during this time of the year,” he said.

Bioluminescence has also been observed across the coastline of many beaches in the world such as Indonesia, the USA, the Maldives, Vietnam, Australia and many other countries.

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