Perhaps you’ve caught a lucky glimpse of a wave, glowing brightly as it breaks onshore.
It’s called bioluminescence and it’s often caused by dinoflagellates, unicellular organisms that light up when startled or stimulated. They do it to scare off potential predators, but the movement of a breaking wave is enough to get them glowing.
“Infinity Cube” explores the eye-catching ecological function in an immersive art installation opening Friday at Birch Aquarium.
London-based artist Iyvone Khoo and Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Michael Latz collaborated for months on the eight-foot cube. It’s made of mirrors that reflect projections of a looping film featuring glowing dinoflagellates and an accompanying soundscape.
Khoo spent many hours in Latz’ laboratory filming the tiny organisms.
“Michael gave me guidance in how I could work with them, how to respect their circadian rhythm,” Khoo said. “So we would have to work like 12 hours in the dark night, because that’s when they give bioluminescence.”