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Vieques, Puerto Rico

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Mosquito Bay’, one of the most bioluminescent bays in the world.

Puerto Rico has numerous natural riches that both locals and tourists take advantage of to enjoy, when there is a possibility. In this article of inform yourself 360, we want to refer to the so-called Mosquito Bay, located in the south of the island of Vieques and which is considered one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the world.

Bioluminescence is a chemical process by which numerous types of animals such as bacteria, fungi, protists, jellyfish, molluscs, insects or fish, among others, produce light.

In the bioluminescent bay of Vieques, the species that mainly generates this phenomenon is a microorganism of the protista kingdom, specifically a dinoflagellate called Pyrodinium bahamense. This dinoflagellate can generate a blue luminescence, up to 100 times larger than its size, when a chemical reaction occurs when the protein luciferin and the enzyme luciferase combine, in the presence of oxygen.

The amount of Pyrodinium bahamense in this bay is so high that it has been in the Guinness Book of Records for several years as the most bioluminescent bay in the world.

These high values of dinoflagellates in the bay are due to specific geographical and climatic characteristics and to suitable conditions of salinity, pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen, among others. The fact that the bay is surrounded and protected by mangroves is another important factor in maintaining bioluminescence, thanks to the fact that, on the one hand, they provide nutrients to the water, from which the dinoflagellates benefit, and, on the other hand, they help the water stays in the bay longer.

787 448 5931