It may look like an alien life-form has washed up on a beach, but this striking neon blue effect is a completely natural phenomenon.
The incredible image was taken by photographer Doug Perrine during a visit to Vaadhoo, one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives.
It captures a natural chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which occurs when a micro-organism in the water is disturbed by oxygen.
Natural phenomenon: Glowing blue water washes up on a beach in Vaadhoo, one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives. The result of a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, it occurs when a micro-organism in sea water is disturbed by oxygen
The reaction is similar to the ‘glow’ that fireflies use to attract prey or mates.
Although a rare sight on a shoreline, the phenomenon is more commonly seen at sea in the wake of ships that stir up the oxygen in the sea, which causes the bioluminescent bacteria to glow.
Many undersea organisms ‘glow’, especially creatures that live at depths where light from the surface is less likely to penetrate.
The night-time glow is a side-effect of blooming red algae, known as red tide, which can turn entire beaches scarlet and murky during the day.
The smell of decay, caused by rotting kelp, plankton and fish often accompanies the event as the red algae starves the water of oxygen and light.
By night, there is an increase in microscopic plankton called dynoflagellates, which glow in the dark when disturbed by currents or waves.
Mr Perrine's photo also shows the glow of a ship's lights on the horizon towards the right of the photo, while the stars in the sky above provide a muted contrast to the blue aura on the beach.
Read more: Glow with the flow: Natural phenomenon turns sea water an electric neon blue as it washes up on beach | Mail Online