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Blue tinkle in Chennai beach

Date: 22 August 2019 Tags: Geography & Environment



Sea Tinkle which is known to cause bioluminescence was observed in Chennai’s Eliot beach recently.




Bioluminescence has been observed in fireflies, a few beetles and in marine creatures such as Anglerfish, copepods sea tinkle. The Noctiluca algae were behind this phenomenon in Chennai.



  • The light is produced by a chemical reaction in the presence of oxygen involving an enzyme called “luciferase”.
  • The algae exhibit the phenomenon of bioluminescence or biologically produce light when disturbed. Noctiluca are known to be voracious predators of planktonic organisms (diatoms), leading to disruption of the marine food chain.
  • They also excrete large amounts of ammonia, causing massive fish mortality. These algal patches are also linked to coastal pollution and runoff from agricultural areas.
  • Warming of the surface waters of the Arabian Sea and reduction in the nutrient flux were the main reasons for their increase.
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