Bioluminescence Bay Vieques PR

The brightest bay in the world containing the magical phenomenon of bioluminescence is found in Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The surface of the water in the bay glows a bright blue-green at night due to a bioluminescent microorganism.

The science behind the magic: bioluminescence is the making and emission of light by a living organism. It occurs widely in marine organisms in both vertebrates and invertebrates. It also occurs in microorganisms including some bacteria, fungi and also in terrestrial invertebrates like fireflies.

The most popular occurrence and perhaps the most magnificent is in the surface layers of the ocean. Microscopic plankton called dinoflagellates create the glow in the water at night. It is estimated that three of these microscopic creatures could fit on the head of a needle. The chemical reaction that produces light happens when the enzyme dinoflagellate luciferase reacts with the substrate luciferin. Scientists believe this behavior is a defense mechanism for the species.

The luminescence occurs as a brief bright blue flash (0.1 sec) usually from mechanical disturbance. The stimulation of the water- by boat, oars, rain or waves produces an emanating blue sparkling light off the surface of the sea. The highest concentration of plankton per liter in the world is found in Mosquito Bay in Vieques. Mangroves surround the bio-bay and the S-shaped entry from the ocean protects it from the open sea.The bioluminescent bays of the world are rare and described as fragile ecosystems. They are a magical wonder definitely worth seeing in this life.