Blanca Roura

Document Type

Thesis, Senior

Publication Date

Spring 2014




Bioluminescence, Roura, Puerto Rico, Ecosystems






Following a study of the chemistry and biology behind the process of bioluminescence and an understanding of the components of a bioluminescent bay, the project proposes a living laboratory in the Puerto Mosquito biolumi nescent bay for the appreciation of bioluminescence. activity will be recycled to become the imput for another. To prevent detrimental effects upon the ecology resulting from the anthropogenic presence, a feedback system that redirects waste and resources among the programmatic components is implemented. The waste from one “There are places in the world where diving into the water on a moonless night is like diving into a sea of sparkling stars.”1 Puerto Mosquito bioluminescent bay, located on the southern shore of Vieques Island, was officially declared the brightest recorded in the world by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2008.2 This bay has the perfect environmen tal conditions for the bioluminescent dwellers. The Bay is small and shallow and has a narrow entrance, so the bright tiny organisms stay trapped, making it very bright. Bioluminescent bays attract thousands of tourists from all over the world eager to see and swim in the water full of sparkling microorganisms, an experience that will surely be unfor gettable and will leave anyone amazed. Excessive tourism influx, however, can be detrimental to the well functioning of the bay. With the tourism demand comes an overdevelopment of nearby areas as well as the use of motorized water craft in order to provide the necessary and wished ammenities for foreign tourists and local visitors wanting to access the bay. Factors such as upland water runoff, garbage and oil spilling from boats affect negatively the quality of the water and therefore the bioluminescent microorganisms. One of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, in the town of Lajas, has lost almost all of its bioluminescence capacity due to the consequences of excessive tourism. In order to avoid the extinction of this natural wonder while allowing anthropogenic presence, tourism has to be prop erly managed. Architecture as a physical intervention can become the interface between the two. “Many organisms, from fireflies to bacteria, exhibit the fascinating trait of bioluminescence. It is relatively rare among land dwellers, but in the depths of the ocean more than 90% of animal species are capable of generating light”.2 Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living creatures. When the proper combination of geological and climatic factors are present, during the night it is possible to witness one of the most fascinating natural phenome na when millions of these organisms leave a trial of neon blue after been disturbed.

Additional Information

Thesis Advisers: Lydia Kallipoliti, Tim Stenson

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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