A different kind of light

With no leatherbacks yet this week on Juno Beach, there are still plenty of interesting things out on the beach to help pass the time.  Not only are there a lot of loggerheads nesting this time of year, we see yellow crowned night herons and ghost crabs as well.  Last night, we also saw quite a spectacle of plankton (tiny organisms) in the water that were sparkling and glistening with each breaking wave.  The glowing is caused by bacteria living inside of the plankton; the bacteria give off light and the result is called “bioluminescence.”  This happens when the bacteria are excited by a stimulus, such as being shaken by a breaking wave.

While we discourage the use of lights on the beach during sea turtle nesting season, bioluminescence is an all-natural light show!  So even though we haven’t encountered any leatherbacks yet this week, our biologists can still stay occupied by watching nature’s many shows.  Keep checking back for updates!