Spotting Bioluminescence in the Everglades

BioluminescenceHave you heard of bioluminescence? Picture the water at night glowing s neon-blue color looking like a starry night. That’s bioluminescence – and it’s not a man-made light, it’s coming from something that is alive.

Bioluminescence in the Everglades is the product of light-emitting aquatic microorganisms like algae and fungi. The most common light producing aquatic organisms are known as dinoflagellates, which give off a blue-green hue.

How can organisms create light? It occurs due to a chemical reaction between luciferin, the light-emitting property found in fireflies, and a light-bearing enzyme called luciferase. Being touched tends to stimulate bioluminescent organisms, so a boat’s bottom or an oar will trigger the lights to appear all over the water.

There is a purpose of this light. Bioluminescent organisms use the light to attract and deflect prey. Some species can even communicate with one another through those beautiful blue speckles you see at the water’s surface. The light is blue because blue light reaches farther distances in water, and it is also one of the only wavelengths marine organisms can interpret.

As you may know bioluminescence isn’t limited to the water, you’ve probably seen a firefly or two in your day. Also, a foxfire, which is a fungi that lives on tree trunks, emits a green glow.

In the Everglades, you are more likely to see bioluminescence by water at night. It usually occurs in brackish and coastal waters of the Everglades.

Everglades visitors claimed they’ve witnessed bioluminescence in the Everglades Wilderness Waterway, the 10,000 Islands region and in saltwater mangrove swamps. The phenomenon is only visible in the dark of night.

For a day time trip through the beautiful Everglades’ waterways,

For a guided tour through Everglades waterways, book an airboat tour with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours. These rides will give you a glimpse of the Everglades like no other on the water.

To book an airboat ride, call  800-368-0065  or visit our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page. We are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).