Phytoplankton bloom off Norway
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Phytoplankton bloom off Norway

August 6, 2004
An enormous bloom of phytoplankton floats in the cool waters of the Barents Sea off the northern coast of Norway. Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that turn ocean waters bright blue and green, and are common in Earth imagery taken from space. The bright blue color suggests that this bloom may be caused by coccolithophores, which are tiny plants surrounded by white calcium carbonate (chalk) plates. The white plates reflect light, and turn the blue waters to shades of blue, green, and turquoise. There are over 5000 types of phytoplankton in the world's largest bodies of water, and all together they outweigh all other marine animals (zooplankton, fish, whales) put together. These tiny organisms cannot be seen clearly under a light microscope.

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