Heated. The summer day. Your conversations. Insinuations. Expectations.
In the evening they converge.
You leave your bicycles entwined on the beach. And run.
Into the sea. Splashing with joy.
Not many of us will be so lucky to experience ‘sea sparkle, ‘mareel’, ‘sea ghost’ or ‘milky seas’. This bioluminescence phenomenon which makes the sea glow and glitter in blue hues, green or red, is caused by the accumulation of large numbers of microorganisms in calm and warm sea conditions. ‘Sea sparkle’ is typically caused by a dinoflagellate, Noctiluca scintillans.
N. scintillans are not photosynthetic themselves, but lure bioluminescent diatoms to come live inside them and make them look good.
Another microbial candidate for this bling-bling effect is the bacterium Vibrio harveyi. V. harveyi use quorum sensing to coordinate when the lights should go on.
While humans usually shy away from large numbers of microbes, they cannot resist the allure of sparkling waves. All of a sudden, overcome by romantic sentiments, they feel the urge to run and bathe in a natural microbial shake culture.