This phenomenon in Bellingham Bay is still a mystery to researchers. They want your help

Lucy Greeley is going to spend her summer researching the glowing bioluminescence in Bellingham Bay, and you can too.

Bellingham’s Community Boating Center has teamed up with Western Washington University on a new citizen science initiative: Visitors who join the nonprofit’s bioluminescence paddle excursions this summer can help collect samples of the tiny plankton that create the mesmerizing phenomenon, measure the light being produced each night and identify plankton species using a video microscope. Greeley, a WWU junior studying marine and coastal science, is the Community Boating Center’s environmental science intern this summer, and she will analyze collected samples to add to the relatively sparse knowledge about bioluminescence in the Salish Sea.

“There hasn’t been a ton of research on bioluminescence in this region,” said Greeley, who will also lead kayak tours. “We are trying to answer some of the more basic questions.”

Greeley will be advised by WWU Associate Professor Robin Kodner, who is well known for her research on algae that turns snow pink in the North Cascades.

If you’re interested in learning more about bioluminescence in Bellingham Bay, Greeley is leading a free, virtual presentation 7-8 p.m. Thursday, June 16. She will speak about the history of humans and bioluminescence, past research and her summer study plan. Register online at