Crowds watching for bioluminescence
People at Carlsbad State Beach attempt to photograph the neon blue bioluminescence in early May. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Did you see the record-breaking red tide that created a bioluminescent show at night along San Diego beaches in April and May?

The Surfrider Foundation and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have created a short survey to learn more about how the phenomenon may have effected the health of people who experienced it.

From March 30 to May 31, thousands of beachgoers noticed record breaking counts of Lingulodinium polyedra, a species of phytoplankton that created a red tide along the Pacific coast from Ensenada to Ventura.

During the day, a thick brown-red plume could be seen at beaches and bays across the region. At night, the plume would turn into a bioluminescent show with bright blue glowing waves and shore break.

While this species of phytoplankton is considered less toxic than some other red tide culprits, anecdotal reports suggest it may impact respiratory health and trigger skin rashes. Scientists are seeking more information and data about these potential harmful effects.

The survey, which is being conducted by the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, is anonymous, but for those interested in having researchers follow up, an option to provide contact information is provided. The survey can be taken in English or Spanish:

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.