Mediterranean bioluminescence

The amazing greek lake which glows at night

In September 2013 Arrigoni has discovered and documented, with Michela Cecconi, an amazing and unexpected natural phenomenon that illuminated the lake Kakià Lagada, placed between the end of a beautiful canyon and a small beach in the Greek island of Kythera: when they moved its water, it turned biolumiscent!

This marvel of nature was never observed in that lake before, it was probably due to an unusual (and probably temporary) high concentration of plankton, in particular of a kind of dinoflagellate protozoa (maybe the species Lingulodinium polyedrum or Noctiluca scintillans), and it can be considered rare in the Mediterranean, as it is most commonly observed in warm coastal waters of Australia (Gippsland Lakes), Maldive, India and Southern California. The biologists believe that some dinoflagellates developed bioluminscence as a defence mechanism, lighting up when they sense a predator coming near.

The breaf displays of green-blue light were very brilliant to the naked eye, but quite dim for photographic purposes, so that these pictures required long exposures and high ISO.



After three years, Simone Arrigoni and Michela Cecconi observed in the small brackish lake Kakia Lagada in Kythira (Greece) a so intense inflorescence of bioluminescent plankton that they could impress again the green-blue flashes discovered in 2013 in night shots at long exposures.

It was very exciting to see again the water magically lighting up under the Milky Way! Moreover, this observation also allows to speculate that the presence of protozoa responsible for the flares in the lake is permanent, although strongly variable, as in the two previous years the intensity of the natural phenomenon was much lower, even to the point of being difficult to see with the new moon