19 mars 2014

The bioluminescent bays of Vieques by Rebecca

Vieques is an island located ten miles away from Puerto Rico. It's a very special island because it has some of the world's remaining bioluminescent bays. The most popular bioluminescent bay in Vieques is Puerto Mosquito.
It is located on the southern edge of a volcanic upland. The strange phenomen that happens at night in some bays of Vieques is caused by microscopic organisms called Dinoflagellates, that are found in great number in those bays. The most prevelent Dinoflagellates are Pyrodinium bahamense, in Greek "pyros" means fire and "dinos" means whirling.
The Pyrodinium works a lot like a green plant. They have chlorophyl and they use sunlight energy to make food. They use the food to make energy to make them light at night. This picture has been took in Puerto Mosquito while bioluminescent time.
Those special organisms light when they are disturbed, if the bay is calm it will be as dark as an other one. Bioluminescent bays share a lot of common points. They are quite small. They are some times very shallow and don't go deeper than fourteen feet and all bioluminescent bays are surrounded with mangroves. The mangroves are essential to the developement of a bioluminescent bay because they are full of vitamin B12 the essential nutriment for Dinoflagellates to live. In Puerto Mosquito the population density of these organisms is around 600,000 per gallon! But the biggest  population of Pyrodinium is found in the ocean outside the bays. 

Finally, on our sailing trip we had the chance of seeing bioluminescence in our Atlantic crossings at night and in the bays of Vieques such as Puerto Mosquito. These are the pictures we took the night we went to Puerto Mosquito.



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