It’s a Bioluminescent Red Tide!

April 29, 2020: We are experiencing a red tide, a massive bloom of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, which is a common member of the local plankton community. Sometimes it gets so abundant that it discolors the water reddish/brown, hence the name red tide. And this is big one, stretching from Baja California to Los Angeles. It was first detected at a … Read More

Article about Infinity Cube, a Bioluminescence Art Exhibit

In this article, published in the November 2019 issue of Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin, Dr. Latz recounts the making of Infinity Cube, a bioluminescence art exhibit that was displayed at the Birch Aquarium of Scripps Institution of Oceanography during 2017-2018. In collaboration with London-based artist Iyvone Khoo, Infinity Cube consisted of a dark ‘sensorial space’ of video projection and sound within a … Read More

Why is the Iconic Bioluminescent Dinoflagellate Noctiluca not Bioluminescent along the West Coast of the USA?

The dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans was described as ‘animalcules’ in the 1750’s using early microscopes and is now known as a major source of bioluminescence in the world’s oceans. But reports going back to the 1960’s describe non-bioluminescent Noctiluca along the west coast  of the USA. In this study, published in the November 2019 issue of Limnology and Oceanography, an international … Read More

Article on Puerto Rico Bioluminescent Bays

The article “Bioluminescent Bays Shine Light on Puerto Rico’s Resilience” published on Nova Next, the digital publication of NOVA, the PBS science documentary series, features the bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico, and discusses the impact of Hurricane Maria, which slammed into Puerto Rico in September 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane.

Article on the Art and Science of Bioluminescence

An article published in the online Signal to Noise Magazine titled “Putting the Spotlight on Artists Who Glow” focuses on the art and science of bioluminescence. One of the features is the installation Infinity Cube, a collaboration between artist Iyvone Khoo and marine biologist Dr. Michael Latz, that was on display at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps during 2017-2018.

Remembering Physicist and Educator Dr. Jim Rohr

Jim Rohr had a 30 year career with the Department of Defense at Spawar Systems Center (SSC) Pacific in San Diego, first as a research physicist studying fluid mechanics, underwater acoustics, and marine biology. He obtained a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He served for several years as a research associate at Scripps … Read More

U.S. Postal Stamps on Bioluminescent Life

The U.S. Postal Service has issued stamps related to bioluminescence. From their web site: Bioluminescence – the ability of some living things to generate their own light – occurs on many branches of the tree of life. With this sheet of 20 stamps, the U.S. Postal Service showcases 10 examples of Bioluminescent Life. The stamps feature: deep-ocean octopus, midwater jellyfish, … Read More

What’s In a Name? Lingulodinium polyedra, the dinoflagellate formerly known as L. polyedrum and Gonyaulax polyedra

A 1989 paper by John Dodge rocked the dinoflagellate community. The much loved and studied dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra, known for its spectacular bioluminescent displays and red tides in southern California and elsewhere, was renamed based on new insights into its morphology and to align the name with that of its spiny cyst, then known as Lingulodinium machaerophorum. So the motile … Read More

Recovery of Caribbean Bioluminescent Bays after Hurricane Maria

On September 20, Hurricane Maria slammed into the VIrgin Islands as a category 5 hurricane and pounded Puerto Rico as a category 4. With torrential rain and wind gusts up to 200 miles per hour, it caused widespread devastation including loss of electricity and cell service for the entire territory. The hurricane also impacted four bioluminescent bays. Unlike our local bioluminescent … Read More

“The Artistry of Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence”

In a new article, Dr. Latz explores his artist collaborations in expressing the aesthetic beauty of nature in a creative way that avoids the technical details and jargon that tend to limit the effectiveness of science communication. The objective of the artists’ works is to engage the viewer and perhaps provide the opportunity to educate the curious about science. The article … Read More