This is Vaadhoo Island in Maldives; welcome to the world of Bioluminescence!
The biologically illuminated waves are due to the presence of light emitting phytoplankton. Bioluminescence results from energy released during chemical reactions occurring inside the organism. A very small fraction of the released energy is heat.
Most of the Pelagic Organisms (living in Open Ocean) exhibit this phenomenon. Since the Sun’s rays are not able to penetrate deep enough in sea water, sea creatures living in the realm of darkness (beyond 300m) have evolved to produce their own light.
Most of these organisms emit blue light. This is because it has a shorter wavelength, and thus has higher energy to travel farther through the sea water. An exception to this is Loosejaw which emits red light. Red light, having a longer wavelength, cannot travel long enough so this helps Loosejaws to remain invisible for the predators.
Bioluminescence serves different purposes for different organisms. It can be:
• To communicate
• To illuminate prey
• To attract mates
(Photo Source: Doug Perrine, Alamy
1. National Geographic - http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/pictures/120319-glowing-waves-ocean-blue-bioluminescent-plankton-science
For further study:
1. NOAA - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/biolum.html
2. How Stuffs Work - http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/all-about-animals/bioluminescence1.htm)