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Bioluminescent Waves Light Up Southern California Coasts

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Glowing blue waves are creating a spectacular scene on Southern California beaches.

The bioluminescence is known as "red tide," or an algal bloom, which is a large concentration of microorganisms in the water.

The bioluminescent waves crash on the sand shining with a blue glow on April 28, 2020, in Manhattan Beach, California. - Bioluminescence is a phenomenon caused by certain kinds of phytoplankton associated with red tide that by night generate a pulse of blue light as the waves crash. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

On sunny days, the water gives off a murky reddish hue, and at night, when the organisms are agitated by movements, they emit a neon blue glow.

Red tide can sometimes have harmful impacts on fish, marine mammals and birds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Experts also say that not all of these algal blooms are harmful and that most times they actually provide food and nutrients for oceanic plants and animals, NOAA said.

Due to Stay-At-Home orders, many people aren't able to experience the phenomena first-hand, but some are defying guidance from health experts and coming out anyway.

Police have been seen in Malibu and other locations, hoping to deter people from gathering and disperse any crowds.

It's unclear how long the red tide will be around in SoCal.

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