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Stunning pictures of luminous plankton lighting up Tasmania, with bonus Aurora Australis

Picture: Jo Malcomson

An outbreak of bioluminescent plankton invading Tasmania’s Derwent River has given local photographers a couple of wild nights this week.

Not only have the tiny glowing critters lit up the water in brilliant blues, the Aurora Australis dropped in for a cameo above.

Photographer Jo Malcomson is based on Hobart’s eastern shore at the mouth of the Derwent. She’s been down a couple of nights and says the crowds have been crazy, but not as much as the display from nature.

“It’s like a chemical spill!” she told Business Insider.

Here’s a few of her shots. You can see more at her website, Blackpaw Photography, or on her Facebook page.

Picture: Jo Malcomson
Picture: Jo Malcomson

Here’s a few from Fiona Walsh at Gumboots Photography:

Picture: Fiona Walsh

Walsh has a great blog post about exactly what’s been going on, after a chat with her friend and local CSIRO marine expert, Lisa-ann Gershwin.

The colour was most intense on the cusp of the wave. Literally like someone and installed a neon tube of light just where it breaks. So intense and bright.

Picture: Fiona Walsh

It’s actually known as a “red tide”. The plankton are called Noctiluca scintillans – a type of microalgae called a Dinoflagellate..

They’re a huge reddish-brown swarm in the water during the day and despite being spectacularly beautiful at night, can have a huge detrimental impact on local fisheries.

Paul Fleming got lucky. He snapped the sea sparkles and the Aurora Australis within minutes of each other.

“The bay where the bioluminescence has been trapped is one side of a narrow isthmus on the South Arm Peninsula near Hobart,” he told Business Insider.

Picture: Paul Fleming

“This shot was from Calverts Beach that pretty much is the other, ocean-facing, side of the isthmus.”

Picture: Paul Fleming

Leoni Williams is a “middle-aged, completely self-taught” photographer who first picked up a DSLR a couple of years ago. She’s doing just fine:

Picture: Leoni Williams
Picture: Leoni Williams
Picture: Leoni Williams

Williams also has some stunning aurora shots from a display in March over Hobart at her TAB Photography Facebook page which are well worth checking out.

For more bioluminescence pictures, head for the public Facebook page, Bioluminescence Tasmania, where there are hundreds more.

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