Biologists in Puerto Rico are perplexed as the region’s famous Bioluminescent Lagoon has suddenly gone almost dark. The Bioluminescent Lagoon in Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve regularly attracts tourists who flock to the region to see the wondrous glow given off by microscopic organisms who call the bay home. But lately, the bay’s bioluminescence has dissipated, and researchers are exploring the possibility that runoff from a nearby water and sewage plant is the culprit.
Each year, thousands of tourists explore the bay on sightseeing boats and kayaks from the nearby city of Fajardo. The waters give off a greenish light that can be transferred to hands and arms of visitors, as the bioluminescent micro-organisms swim through it.
But in recent weeks, the lagoon’s bioluminescence has dropped so significantly that tour operators have been canceling trips and refunding tourists. For the past eight days, the lagoon has been almost dark, which doesn’t only spell trouble for business, but also for the environment.
Fajarado’s mayor, Anibal Melendez, has placed blame on the construction site of a new water and sewage plant, which won’t be completed until 2016. Melendez feels that run off from the construction could be polluting the bay and hurting the micro-organisms. He has asked that the plant be moved to ensure the lagoon’s safety. Officials also say a recent storm that generated heavy waves could have disturbed the organisms.
The Bioluminescent Lagoon went almost dark ten years ago in 2003, but then recovered a few months later.
Via Huffington Post