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A 1.5 hour exposure photo taken by Phil Hart on the banks of Gippsland Lake in Victoria, Australia, showing the path of the stars as well as the glow of Noctiluca scintillans, a bioluminescent marine protist commonly known as “sea sparkle.” 

The magnitude of the Noctiluca bloom at this location was unusual, and was caused of a chain of environmental events occurring over a few years.  In late 2006, an out-of-control wildfire spread to the Gippsland Lakes watershed, and subsequent flooding due to exceptionally heavy rainfall in June of 2007 resulted in a significant amount of runoff from the burned areas, as well as an increase in salinity due to seawater intrusion from high water levels.  The increased nutrient load caused eutrophication and the bloom of a cyanobacteria that had not been identified in the lake system prior, causing public health concerns.  By the end of 2008, the phagotrophic Noctiluca began to proliferate, feeding on the cyanobacteria. 

Phil has the full story written out on his website along with more pictures, they’re pretty amazing!

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