SEA OF STARS- Vadhoo Island (Maldives)

Sea Stars Vadhoo Island

Maldives is a byword for paradise. You will probably find this destination on the bucket list of divers, sun worshippers and honeymooners of the world. It has innumerable coral islands carrying incredible beauty that are worthy of praise. One such island is the Vadhoo Island, nestled in great settings where the bestowals of Mother Nature are highly pristine. It is quite a metaphor of heaven on earth and indeed something that can make any poet run short of words.

What a breathtaking display of nature’s unexpected exquisiteness! It seems as nature has decorated itself with fluorescent lights. As the waves lap the shore, the environment lights up like Las Vegas. These shimmering blue stars are nothing but ‘bioluminescence’ created by marine microbes belonging to the order of the phytoplanktons, more specifically the dinoflagellates. They contain luciferase, a chemical which has the ability to create a unique biological light. This phenomenon or chemical reaction is seen as a result of ships stirring up the oxygen in the sea or due to roiling motion of currents and the waves. This reaction likens the way a firefly uses to attract mates or prey.

Sea Stars Vadhoo Island

This is the sand along the beach that is also seen glowing with soft blue light emitted by innumerable microscopic dinoflagellates that are washed ashore.

Sea Stars Vadhoo Island

What is Bioluminescence?

It is the capacity of an organism to emit light. It is one of the nature’s most happening and amazing phenomena.

Bioluminescence is used to distract predators by preventing them from feeding and disrupting their swimming behavior. It may also be used to attract animals that feed on the predators. Other than these, there are many animals that are bioluminescent like fireflies, anglerfishes and jellyfishes. Turning on these bright lights can cause other animals to move away and can even permanently damage their sight organs.

It is also a survival advantage for the deep sea creatures by helping them find food, assist in reproductive process and provide a defensive mechanism.

Sea Stars Vadhoo Island

Bioluminescent phytoplankton bodies are covered with intricate shells which are rigid and have interlocking parts. They rely on the ocean currents to travel through water. They provide food for creatures like shrimps, snails, jellyfish and whales.

If their growth goes out of control, then it can result in forming harmful algal blooms (HABs), which are extremely toxic compounds and are harmful to other fishes, mammals, birds and even people. Their abundant growth can also consume oxygen that can threaten the survival of other species in the area. So also here all this beauty comes with a price!

5 comments… add one

  • alonewolf December 14, 2014, 9:14 am

    I wish I could escape here. I want to just disappeared and take vacation here… *sigh..

  • Muhammad Salman October 25, 2014, 8:28 am

    Amazing Nature :)

  • ashley March 16, 2014, 2:12 am

    Can you swim in the water with those things?

  • Cheyenne February 17, 2014, 6:48 am

    Does it stay like that year round?

  • Lionell April 19, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Thats really amazing :o

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