On the Air: August 24, 2014
A mussel shell showing the mother-of-pearl layer. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The shells of oysters, clams, and other mollusks are made mainly of chalk – a mineral that’s brittle and crumbly. Yet the shells themselves are tough – they can protect the critters inside them for years.

In Print: August 1, 2014
Bioluminescent waves containing billions of dinoflagellates. Credit: Wikipedia. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a full moon so bright you can read by its light. But what if you could also read by the light of ocean waves — at night, with no moonlight at all? If you’re in one of Puerto Rico’s famous “bioluminescent bays,” you might be able to. In these three bays, the water is full of tiny plankton called dinoflagellates which produce neon blue light called bioluminescence.