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Sediments and Phytoplankton by Coast of Argentine Patagonia

40.1S 58.6W

June 24th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton MODISAqua

Argentina – June 22nd, 2013

Phytoplankton and sediments float in the waters of the Atlantic, parallel to the coast of Argentina. Sediments are particularly dense along the coast by Bahía Blanca (upper right quadrant), while two other mixed plumes can be viewed trailing off the Valdes Peninsula (center) and the southern end of the San Jorge Gulf.

Phytoplankton Near King Sound, Australia

16.8S 121.9E

June 12th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton, Sediments VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Australia – June 10th, 2013

Sediments color the waters of King Sound, in north-west Australia, famous for its tides that can reach up to 11.8 m (the second biggest tides in the world, after the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia). West of the sound, a bluish green stain of phytoplankton can be seen just offshore.

Sediments and Phytoplankton by Argentine Patagonia

45S 65.1W

June 9th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton, Sediments MODISTerra

Argentina – June 8th, 2013

Sediments and phytoplankton can be seen off the coast of Argentine Patagonia. The greenish plume of color streaming northeastward off Peninsula Valdes (center) is likely caused by sediments, while the band of green containing swirled patterns that is parallel, but not connected to, the coast of the San Jorge Gulf (below), is likely due to phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton Blooms by Ireland and Scotland

49.5N 9.9W

June 7th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton MODISAqua

Ireland and UK – June 6th, 2013

A phytoplankton bloom, created by millions of microorganisms, continues to turn the waters southwest of Ireland bright shades of blue and green. A second, fainter bloom is visible north of Northern Ireland and west of Scotland. This bloom is likely less intense due to a smaller concentration of the tiny microorganisms.

Green and Blue Phytoplankton Bloom Southwest of Ireland and UK

49.5N 9.6W

June 5th, 2013 Category: Phytoplankton MODISTerra

Ireland and UK – June 4th, 2013

Phytoplankton are possibly the most important group of organisms on the planet as they generate most of the oxygen that we breath. Also, as they convert inorganic nutrients and sunlight into vegetative matter, most marine food chains depend on their presence as a primary food source.

Most individual phytoplankton are too small to be seen with the naked eye. When present in high numbers however, their presence may appear as dramatic discoloration of the water, as is the case in this image of a bloom southwest of Ireland. This population growth can be rapid, and typically occur when temperature and nutrient levels rise, usually in late Spring and Autumn. The colour of a bloom can vary from a green to a dark red colour depending on the phytoplankton present.

While blooms can provide more food to organisms higher up the food chain, too much phytoplankton can also do harm. Dissolved oxygen becomes rapidly depleted as the phytoplankton die, sink to the bottom and decompose. This can result in the death of other organisms including shellfish, crabs and fish (click here for more information).

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