Chasing Fireflies?

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Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms.  If you spent any time chasing fireflies at dusk this summer, you were chasing a bioluminescent organism!

As I was reading “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World” by Leigh Ann Henion this summer, I had the opportunity to reminisce back to one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had.  One of the phenomenal natural occurences that the author wrote about was the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.  During my college years, I spent some time teaching in Puerto Rico and studying the biology of islands.  While there, I went kayaking at night on the bioluminescent bay.  The little creatures that produce the bioluminescence in the bay are dinoflagellates.  While they are invisible to the human eye during the day, at night they light up the water as it moves.  So, as our kayaks moved through the bay, the water glowed.  Even better, when my friends and I abandoned our boats for a swim, the glowing water swirled around us.  What a phenomenal experience!  I was filled with wonder and awe.  That made me want to learn even more.  I hope our experiences in learning this year fill you with that same motivation to learn!

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