Bioluminescence in Southern California is a rare phenomenon. A Red Tide occurs because of a proliferation of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates. During a bloom, millions of these microscopic organisms can be concentrated in just one gallon of sea water. Scientists are unable to predict when these blooms will happen, but it is known that many different variables are at play. Sunlight, water temperature, and nutrients are just a couple of reasons these plankton begin to reproduce.