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    Re: Glowing Sea Surface
    From: Trevor Kenchington
    Date: 2003 Nov 12, 09:21 -0400

    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

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