If I'm being completely honest, I'm slightly terrified of the ocean.
Not to the point where I'd never go in the water at all, but I can tell you with confidence, I have never — and will never — go into any natural body of water at night.
Basically, if I can't visibly see everything in my general vicinity, it's game over.
Although, I may need to make an exception to my rule if I'm ever fortunate enough to see the shores off the coast of Tasmania.
This past week, Tasmanians were treated to this beautiful, bright blue sight.
The magical glow spread across the Australian island's northwest shore, creating an absolutely stunning light show for anyone lucky enough to stumble upon it.
We have bioluminescent algae (a fancy term for algae that glow in the dark) to thank for the incredible display.
Specifically, these algae are "Noctiluca scintillans," though they are more commonly known as "sea sparkle."
Can you guess why?
These single-celled algae emit a dazzling blue glow when rocked around by waves in the ocean.
When the water is calm during the day, the algae actually look reddish-brown. But then they shine bright blue by night as the waves roll in.
As beautiful as this is, these algae have a bit of a dark side.
According to Gustaaf Hallegraeff, professor in aquatic botany at the University of Tasmania, the algae consume other plankton, which can have a negative effect on the oysters and mussels who feed on plankton.
This is a plankton that needs to feed on other organisms and it is a voracious feeder; it really can behave like a vacuum cleaner. So it comes in, blooms, and then the water for weeks is crystal clear because it has eaten everything. And so shell fish farmers sometimes complain that there's no food left for their shell fish to eat.
Hallegraeff even warned the algae could pose a threat to the ecosystem should they become more widespread.
Let me get this straight: These algae are comparable to a vacuum cleaner?!
See guys, my fear of the ocean at night is COMPLETELY justified. Ain't nobody got time to be vacuumed by the ocean.