Photos: Hong Kong’s toxic pollution creates gorgeous neon-blue algae blooms

January 23, 2015 6:13 PM

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Photos: Hong Kong’s toxic pollution creates gorgeous neon-blue algae blooms

The trippy indigo glow lighting up Hong Kong’s darkened shores doesn’t look like the handiwork of pig manure, fertilizer, and sewage. But that nutrient-packed combo is exactly what’s feeding the colony of bioluminescent Noctiluca scintillans, a single-cell organism that has bloomed in Hong Kong’s waters more and more frequently of late.

Unable to photosynthesize on their own, these little guys eat algae. But since they sometimes kill that algae and sometimes leave it living inside them, these dinoflagellates—which are commonly called “sea sparkles”—are neither fully plants nor fully animals. But even that bathtime-toy-esque name be...

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