Posted by: Jill | May 28, 2010

Red Tide in La Jolla

A red tide appeared in La Jolla a few days ago. This is the first time I have ever seen one, and I am amazed that the water is, in fact, a brilliant red color.

Red tides are temporary blooms of a type of plankton called dinoflagellates. Sometimes they are caused by pollution runoff from the land, sometimes they are caused by specific climatic conditions, and sometimes we don’t really understand what causes them. Some red tides are composed of toxic species of dinoflagellates and can make people sick. The one we’re having right now is completely safe — AND it’s bioluminescent, so we get fantastic sparkly waves at night.

I snapped these photos at lunch today from Scripps campus in La Jolla. The photo on the right is looking south toward La Jolla, with the SIO pier (approx. 1/5 mile) for reference.

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