Phytoplankton Bloom off Japan
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Phytoplankton Bloom off Japan

August 12, 2008

The MODIS on the Terra satellite captured this image of a phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Japan on August 7, 2008. The bloom is off the eastern coast of the island of Hokkaido. This particular phytoplankton bloom is very concentrated, though fainter swirls of green are visible closer to the coast.

Phytoplankton are tiny marine organisms, that, much like their land-based plant relatives, use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into food. Chlorophyll and other light-capturing pigments in others give the water a deep green hue. The proliferation of many different species in various stages of growth and decay can provide many nuances of color.

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