Snow is glowing in the Russian Arctic. The culprit? Tiny sea creatures.
Tiny bioluminescent animals called copepods recently lit up the snow near a remote field station, in the first documented sighting of its kind.
High in the Russian Arctic, at a remote field station on the shores of the White Sea, biologist Vera Emelianenko set out for a walk on a frigid December night. With her were Mikhail Neretin, the son of the station’s molecular biologist, and a couple dogs: a giant schnauzer and soft-coated Wheaten terrier.
Trudging along the icy embankments of the tidal zone in fierce Arctic winds, Neretin spotted a blue illumination in a snowbank. Had Emelianenko dropped her phone?
As they walked over to investigate, their footsteps created streaks of ethereal blue. “They were like blue Christmas lights in the snow,” Emelianenko says.
She bent down to scoop up a handful. With a gentle squeeze, the snowball glowed brighter. The dogs left a