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    Re: Glowing Sea Surface
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2003 Nov 13, 08:50 -0500

    Trevor,
    
    I was not intending to insult you, but rather to answer the question
    you poised a second time, after Jared & George's answer, and to point
    out as best I could for the whole list that a biological explanation
    was not unlikely.  Given that a hurricane was stirring the waters, it
    does not appear to me you have to invoke a bloom to explain what you
    saw, but rather a smaller population might suffice.  In addition, is
    there a need for the organism(s) to be alive to phosphoresce and do
    they need to be algae?
    
    Fred
    
    On Nov 12, 2003, at 8:21 AM, Trevor J. Kenchington wrote:
    
    > Fred,
    >
    > Marine life, of some species, thrives at temperatures down to the
    > freezing point of seawater. Temperature is therefore immaterial to the
    > issue at hand. In any case, the Harbour is still fairly warm at the
    > moment -- as I can confirm from personal exposure. However, algae
    > (assuming that the thing in question was an alga) need sunlight. The
    > species living in each area are adapted to use the seasonal cycles of
    > sunlight available in that area (along with seasonal cycles in many
    > other things), while light is abundant here in high summer but getting
    > scarce by the autumnal equinox.
    >
    > So, for the third time: In my judgement (as a professional marine
    > scientist), I find it a bit improbable that anything would be blooming
    > here in late September in sufficient abundance to produce the
    > appearance
    > of continuous light (rather than individual sparks) that I saw. Not
    > impossible but a bit improbable.
    >
    > I did not turn to this list for an education in marine biology. (Got
    > that at university, starting nearly 30 years ago.) I did think that
    > someone might be able to tell me whether there were possible
    > physico-chemical explanations for what I saw. Jared has said that, at
    > least where the water itself is concerned, there are not. If I get the
    > chance, I'll ask the phytoplankton types at my wife's research
    > institute
    > whether they can suggest a species which might have produced the light.
    >
    >
    > Trevor Kenchington
    >
    >
    >
    > Fred Hebard wrote:
    >
    >> Trevor,
    >>
    >> I believe marine fauna are fairly common near sea ice.  This implies
    >> that flora are there also, at the base of the food chain.  Which I
    >> always hear about the nutrient-rich arctic waters, where the nutrients
    >> in questions are minerals for the flora.  So algae probably are
    >> abundant in your harbor until it ices over.  I have no idea what ice
    >> would do to the light intensity in the water underneath, but it might
    >> knock it down enough to crash algal populations.  Now what it was that
    >> was doing bioluminescence, I do not know.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    > Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902) 889-9250
    > R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902) 889-9251
    > Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902) 889-3555
    >
    >                     Science Serving the Fisheries
    >                      http://home.istar.ca/~gadus
    >
    
    
    

       
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