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Everything you need to know about Bioluminescence

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this amazing natural phenomenon, along with answers as shared by biologists from the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO)

Is it possible to predict if this will happen again in coming days?

This is not a predictable phenomenon; there is no way of knowing if it will happen again, or if there is really a season for it in Puerto Peñasco. A detailed study would need to be done to know if this always occurs during winter and if there is a specific area.

Is it toxic?

No, it is not toxic.

Is this a common occurrence for Puerto Peñasco?

This occurs in places where the sea water is particularly cold, or warm and has happened before in Puerto Peñasco.

What causes this phenomenon?

The presence of bioluminescent (meaning they emit their own light) plankton microorganisms that react with the movement of the waves.

What makes the water change colors?

It’s due to the dinoflagellates – they are named this way because of the waving motion of their two flagellates – the size of dust particles that light up every time the water is agitated around them. These are the usual causes for the sparkling light that can be seen sometimes when swimming or sailing at night.

Is this the first time it has happened in Puerto Peñasco?

No, this phenomenon has occurred here before, notably in winter. However, the bioluminescence this January was particularly intense.

Is it safe to enter the water in the presence of the bioluminescent bloom?

Yes, you can go in. There are no reports of any harm caused by it.

Can it damage my skin?

There is no record of skin damage caused by this phenomenon; however, if you have sensitive skin it is recommended you consult your doctor beforehand.