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It’s night-time in an impossibly exotic location. Waves are breaking on the beach. The water is sparkling with electric blue lights. The internet loves an image of a magical-looking bioluminescent bay. You may also have seen travel bloggers bemoaning the real event as not quite living up the hype. Even if the latter is true, bioluminescence, usually caused by planktonic organisms called dinoflagellates, is a pretty amazing natural phenomenon. Dinoflagellates emit blue light when disturbed, which is why they can be seen sparkling over wave crests, around boats or when a hand or paddle runs through them. These tiny creatures are the most common source of bioluminescence at the ocean’s surface.
So-called bioluminescent bays such as in Puerto Rico and Jamaica are among the best-known places to witness the glow. However, the ephemeral phenomenon can be found throughout the ocean where there are dense gatherings of dinoflagellates.
Sometimes dinoflagellates’ population increases rapidly causing blooms, which by day are coloured a less attractive red-brown, sometimes known as red tides. And some, but not all, of these red tides are poisonous.
Even stranger and rarer than bioluminescent bays are “milky seas”, where continually glowing water stretches for as far as the eye can see. Milky seas have only been seen a few hundred times since 1915, mainly concentrated around north-western Indian Ocean and near Java, Indonesia. They are not caused by dinoflagellates, but are thought to be the result of “bioluminescent bacteria that have accumulated in large numbers near the surface”, explains to Dr Matt Davis, Assistant Professor of Biology, St. Cloud State University in the US, who specialises in bioluminescence. Reports by sailors over the centuries have described milky seas as a nocturnal whitish glow like a field of snow, but scientists have had little chance to investigate the phenomenon first-hand.
Beautiful glowing water phenomenon such as bioluminescent bay and milky seas are caused by organisms like dinoflagellates who emit light when disturbed and bioluminescent bacteria present in large quantity near the water surface.
Starting from the first paragraph, one can see that the theme of the text is glowing water phenomenon such as bioluminescent bays. The main point in the first paragraph is:
“bioluminescence, usually caused by planktonic organisms called dinoflagellates”
We will ignore the other parts of the paragraph as they are just additional information. For a summary we need to focus only on the core ideas in the text.
In the final paragraph there is a mention of another such phenomenon called “milky sea”. So, we will also include that in our summary. Joining bioluminescence and milky sea, we get our final summary. Make sure to always check your summaries in the end for grammatical correctness and completeness of information. Anyone ready the summary for the first time should be able to understand what the text was about.
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