South African Phytoplankton
December 28, 2004
Phytoplankton thrives at the surface of nutrient-rich waters all over the world. In this true-color Terra MODIS image from December 3, 2004, a long bloom snakes along the coast of South Africa from the Cape of Good Hope, up past Cape Columbine and St. Helena Bay, and on toward southern Namibia. Currents in the waters create swirls in the blooms, which are the trademark chalky blue of coccolithophores. Coccolithophores are a particular kind of phytoplankton that create limestone (calcite) plating around themselves. The plates are white, and in combination with the southern Atlantic Ocean's deep blue color, appear an intense opaque turquoise.
Topics: Biological oceanography, Planktology, Aquatic ecology, Coccolith, Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Plankton, Coccolithophore, Phytoplankton, Haptophytes