Bioluminescent Algae

I went to see Moana with my family shortly after it came out. My sister will tell you that I keeled over laughing at the part where the crab says, “Oh I see, you used a barnacle covered in bioluminescent algae as a deception!” I can’t tell you why I cracked up. The truth is I’m not really sure why. Maybe I was surprised that a crab recognized the bioluminescent algae and barnacle as part of his environment, or that he pronounced algae the same way my biology professor did all semester.

Tamatoa the crab from Disney Wiki Fandom.

Was I surprised that bioluminescent algae appeared in a Disney movie about island life? Certainly not. Bioluminescent algae, classified as dinoflagellate, is featured in so many films that it deserves an Oscar. In fact, there is a webpage linked here solely devoted to the presence of this organism in books and movies. Bioluminescent algae aren’t range-bound to oceans, though. Dinoflagellates can be found in various environments, as can other strange glowing creatures.


I wish I had been at Virginia Beach this September when the coast was lined with neon waves. The algae collect energy from the sun during the day and carry out the photosynthesis process at night, which makes them glow. The glow can also be a mechanical response to motion in the water, which works as an alert to scare off predators. It’s true. While you probably think bioluminescent algae are pretty, animals are usually scared off by the glow. It’s no wonder scientists love doing experiments with this stuff. I hope you learned something from this post! Let me know what you think.

Read more with these articles: Virginia Beach Algae, Sea Sparkle, Toxic Algae

5 responses to “Bioluminescent Algae”

  1. Amazing creatures. I certainly learned a fact or two. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kelly Andrews Avatar
    Kelly Andrews

    If you ever go to the Cayman Islands you should do a bioluminescence tour! I went there (Grand Cayman) last month with my husband and we did a bioluminescence snorkel tour. We saw millions of dinoflagellate plankton glow at night. It is much better seeing it in the water with a mask because the mask amplifies the visibility. In case you are interested in the type of bio we saw, I have linked below the website of the company that we used:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds awesome! I’m adding it to the list of places to travel some day 🙂


  3. I love the idea of bioluminescent algae! Sadly, we don’t often get it where I live – not warm enough.
    Thanks for following! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome. I love animated movies, and I loved Avatar, which had bioluminescence all over that sumptuous forest 🙂 Thank you so much for following my blog. Keep on blogging – but yes, it does chew up the time something wicked!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: