Bay of Biscay
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Bay of Biscay

May 4, 2004
Impressive clouds of blue and green phytoplankton swirl and twine in the waters of the Bay of Biscay in this true-color Terra MODIS image from April 25, 2004. The phytoplankton live off of sunlight and nutrients in the water, using photosynthesis to create energy, much like their land-based plant relatives. Off to the northeastern side of the bay, similar colors float in the waters at the mouth of the Gironde. However, these clouds are not phytoplankton, but rather are the result of sediments deposited by the river. As the sediment disperses in the Bay, the water returns to its normal dark blue / black color. The Bay of Biscay sits between northwestern France's Brittany region and northwestern Spain's Cape Ortegal. It's strong currents are what bring the nutrients into the waters for the phytoplankton to feed off of, while severe storms also serve to churn the waters and bay floor.

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