‘It’s like something from a movie:’ Florida lagoons glow in the dark

Tour company explains why waterways are lighting up at night

If you have seen the movie “Avatar” or rode Disney’s Na’vi River Journey you have probably seen bioluminescence.

But, you don’t have to turn on the TV or take a trip to Disney to experience this magical phenomenon.

Several lagoons in Brevard County glow at night.

Luke Tarallo with BK Adventure joined Tom Sorrells on Talk to Tom to talk more about it.

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Tarallo said there are two different types of bioluminescence in our waterways and the one that is most prevalent right now is dinoflagellates.

He said the single-celled organism gets energy from the sun and whenever they are disturbed by boats, paddles or even someone’s hand, they glow blue.

Sorrells has been on a bioluminescence tour and said “It’s like something from a movie.”

“Living through a hurricane and watching it blow for 36 hours and seeing the bioluminescence are two of the most overpowering natural things I have ever seen in all of nature. It really is one of the coolest things ever,” Sorrells added.

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Even though Tarallo makes a living giving bioluminescence tours, he said the phenomenon still leaves him in awe.

“It’s almost like magic, I see it out here all the time on these tours and it still mesmerizes me,” he said.

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He said the Indian River, Banana River and Mosquito Lagoon all have nutrient-rich, salty, warm water that the bioluminescence needs to survive.

While Tarallow takes people out on kayaks to enjoy the experience he said you can also enjoy them from the shoreline at Parrish Park in Titusville.

“When it gets dark you can simply step in the water and see it, and see it glowing on your feet and it really is an amazing phenomenon,” Tarrallo said.

To learn more about what’s turning Florida’s lagoons bright blue and how you can take a tour with your friends and family, check out Talk to Tom. You can watch it every Thursday on News 6 or anytime on News 6+. Just download the app to your smart TV and start watching.

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About the Authors:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.