Dinoflagellate algae

  • 17 Mar 2023

Currently, the small fishing village of Kumbalangi in Kerala, India is experiencing a natural neon phenomena caused by bioluminescence.

  • Shrimp farms lining the backwaters of the village are glowing in electric blue and fluorescent green sparkles at night, attracting visitors from across Kerala and beyond.
  • The phenomenon, known as 'kavaru' in Malayalam, has been going on for several weeks and is caused by dinoflagellate algae.
  • The popularity of the bioluminescence has been partly due to its appearance in the Malayalam film "Kumbalangi Nights" in 2019, as well as social media exposure.
  • Concerns have been raised by shrimp farmers about potential damage to their farms from visitors throwing stones and wood in their enthusiasm to see the glow.
  • Kumbalangi is one of India's first eco-tourism villages and has been successful in tapping its tourism potential for the welfare of the local community that is dependent on fishing and allied activities.

Bioluminescence refers to the natural phenomenon where living organisms, such as some types of bacteria, fungi, algae, and animals, produce light through chemical reactions within their bodies.