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HomeNewsArchivesSt. Croix High School Students Experience Bioluminescence

St. Croix High School Students Experience Bioluminescence

The University of the Virgin Islands, through the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies, is introducing high school students to a rare phenomenon found only in a few areas of the world: bioluminescence.

A small semi-enclosed bay east of the Salt River estuary experiences nightly bioluminescence year-round, similar to Bio Bay in Vieques. Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Interior Department, through the University of South Carolina, a total of 180 high school students will be kayaking in this bioluminescent bay.

Project coordinator Marcia Taylor said “the kids are really loving the experience.” Taylor visits classrooms with presentations on bioluminescence and then invites the students to take a bay tour led by Anchor Dive Center.

“Many of the students have never kayaked before and none of the students have ever seen this incredible phenomenon that we have right here on St. Croix,” she said.

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The bioluminescence (living things giving off light) is caused by single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates. These organisms emit a flash of bluish light when agitated. Fish, paddles or anything moving through the water create a glowing trail behind them.

When these organisms are concentrated in a bay, such as in the one in Salt River, a bright amount of light is produced.

This program is part of a larger project to study the bay to better understand how to manage the area to conserve this rare phenomenon.

For more information on the project, email Taylor at mtaylor@uvi.edu.

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The University of the Virgin Islands, through the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies, is introducing high school students to a rare phenomenon found only in a few areas of the world: bioluminescence.

A small semi-enclosed bay east of the Salt River estuary experiences nightly bioluminescence year-round, similar to Bio Bay in Vieques. Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Interior Department, through the University of South Carolina, a total of 180 high school students will be kayaking in this bioluminescent bay.

Project coordinator Marcia Taylor said “the kids are really loving the experience.” Taylor visits classrooms with presentations on bioluminescence and then invites the students to take a bay tour led by Anchor Dive Center.

“Many of the students have never kayaked before and none of the students have ever seen this incredible phenomenon that we have right here on St. Croix,” she said.

The bioluminescence (living things giving off light) is caused by single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates. These organisms emit a flash of bluish light when agitated. Fish, paddles or anything moving through the water create a glowing trail behind them.

When these organisms are concentrated in a bay, such as in the one in Salt River, a bright amount of light is produced.

This program is part of a larger project to study the bay to better understand how to manage the area to conserve this rare phenomenon.

For more information on the project, email Taylor at mtaylor@uvi.edu.