“Did anyone else see the bioluminescent waves tonight in Las Conchas?” This message posted on the evening of Jan. 20th on the Rocky Point Photography group page in Puerto Peñasco came as a surprise, as in the nearly twenty years we’ve lived here we’d certainly not heard of a bioluminescent phenomenon in the area before. From approximately 8 pm – 9 pm under a cloudy night sky in the area of Las Conchas, a hauntingly beautiful light appeared to reflect off the Sea of Cortez “as the tide was coming in”, exclaimed Mary Koppen Vaughan.
Photographer Ken Stiles in Las Conchas amazingly captured the bioluminescent bloom, sharing a series of pictures with the Photography site. Much as the captivating neon glow seemed to spread up the beach, so did Ken’s pictures across Puerto Peñasco sites.
With a number of questions in mind, I contacted Paloma Valdivia, Education and Communication Coordinator at the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO), who similarly expressed amazement and wonder at the reported glow and remarked, “We really don’t have information about this occurrence yet, though we know it’s not the first time it’s happened here. I’ve seen it on other occasions, though this time the bioluminescence is really intense! Beautiful!”
Valdivia detailed the bioluminescent algae –dinoflagellates (plankton migro-organisms of the phylum dinoflagellata) are Noctiluca scintillans. Curiously, this is also commonly known as sea sparkle! So, sparkle away!