© Chatwin Photography. All rights reserved. Published with permission.
Jessica Plautz
March 16, 2017

Noctiluca scintillans, or “sea sparkle” (which kind of sounds like a My Little Pony), are marine-dwelling organisms that exhibit bioluminescence when they are agitated. That may not sound interesting, but the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence is something you'll want to see.

Sea sparkle put on a show in Preservation Bay, on the northern coast of Tasmania, and photographer Brett Chatwin captured the phenomenon in these photos.

“The whole bay was iridescent blue,” Chatwin told the BBC. “I was gobsmacked. It was just an amazing sight.”

© Chatwin Photography. All rights reserved. Published with permission.

Aquatic botanist Gustaaf Hallegraeff, a professor at the University of Tasmania, told the BBC that the glowing is a defense mechanism of the organisms, similar to a “burglar alarm.”

“Something wants to eat you, you flash at it and then you scare it away,” he said.

© Chatwin Photography. All rights reserved. Published with permission.

Bioluminescence can be seen in waters in different parts of the world, including Puerto Rico, so you don't have to travel to Tasmania to see the sea sparkle — although it is a phenomenal destination.

“I live in a beautiful part of the world,” Chatwin told 9News in Australia.

See more of his photography on Facebook.

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