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Port Lincoln beach glows with its ‘most intense’ bioluminescent algae display in five years

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Bioluminescent algae, an uncommon natural phenomenon where algae glows in the dark when optimal conditions arise, has drawn crowds to the Port Lincoln foreshore.

“There’s more people here than there would be on a 40C day down at the foreshore in the middle of winter splashing around in the water, it’s great,” one local woman said.

“It sticks to your hands and feet, it’s quite surreal.”

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The bloom has happened a few times in SA’s Eyre Peninsula town of Port Lincoln over the last five years, but some locals believe this year’s bloom was the most intense.

University of Adelaide’s Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken said the correct water temperature, salinity and nutrients create prime conditions for an algae bloom.

Locals flocked to Port Lincoln’s foreshore in South Australia. Credit: Mark Thomas/7NEWS

When the water is then moved around, the increased level of oxygen initiates a chemical reaction that creates bioluminescence, he said.

“When the water is agitated, through waves breaking or people jumping in or boat driving through it, you get algae, through a chemical process, emit light,” Nagelkerken said.

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