Bioluminescence is caused when animals, through various chemical reactions, emit light. One example that many people have experienced are fireflies. In St Croix, bioluminescence is found in an organism that lives some bays and because of this...the water glows!
Animals have various reasons for utilizing this tactic. For example, the firefly uses bioluminescence for mating purposes. Like a “Hey there good looking. You like what you see?”. Various types of squid can spray a bioluminescent mist in order to misdirect predators. On the other end of the spectrum, some animals use their glow to attract animals so they can eat them! All of it is amazing!
The dinoflagellates in the St Croix bio bay employ bioluminescence to shine light on other predators who are chasing them so that larger predators will go after the organisms chasing them. Said another way, “I'm not here! Go and make a meal out of somebody else!”
The Salt River Bay is where the bio bay magic happens! Pyrodinium Bahamense is the little guy we’re after and he lives and thrives in the waters of this bay. The mangrove forest surrounding the bay gives structure to hide around and seems to be an important component for this creature and its unique trait. Around the Caribbean, where there is bioluminescent glow, there is usually mangroves.
Check out the BIO BAY!