A red tide causes a rich visual effect: crashing waves glow neon blue. The glow-in-the-dark effect comes from an algae bloom. Vigorous motion such as the waves banging the algae cause bioluminescence. The flashing blue light comes from chemical reactions in their cells. Bioluminescence refers to things in nature that produce light, such as fireflies. The phytoplankton at the root of the light show is Lingulodinium polyedrum, the “LA Times” reports. The algae results in mild toxicity that can build up in some sea creatures.