Bioluminescent dinoflagellates are photosynthetic single-celled organisms. They live in slightly diluted sea water. Two to four hours after dark they will illuminate when disturbed with a beautiful and intense blue light. I received a colony from BioCurious in Sunnyvale, CA, where they have held open meetings to all interested in bioluminescence on Monday evenings. When I visited, the group was working on optimizing media for the dinoflagellates, as they don't fix their own nitrogen. A variety of fertilizers were being tried.
From BioCurious lab notebook, undated:
DIY Dino Media
150mL salt water
+50mL dino culture ("L" culture from bucket)
2 drops Micro Algae Grow
(1 drop of water ~50uL, 2 drops ~100uL)
MiracleGro Liquid Houseplant Food
(MG1: 75uL, MG2: 150uL)
MiracleGro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
(AP1: 75uL, AP2: 150uL)
1g in 200mL
Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-H
2Tbsp./Gal. = 30mL, 7.5mL/L
750uL in 100mL H2O
(FF1: 75uL, FF2: 150uL)
I was allowed to take home a culture of bioluminescent dinoflagellates in a container I provided. I left the lid loose for aeration. At night in the dark when I swirled the clear glass bottle the dinoflagellates lit up in a beautiful blue hue. They died shortly thereafter and I discarded the solution after adding bleach to kill any remaining organisms.
Lab notebook idea by Heather Taylor, email@example.com with major input from BioCurious. You are welcome to share all materials with credit to them.