Phytoplankton Bloom in the Bering Sea
Peacock-hued splashes of color brightened the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast on October 8, 2009, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAâs Aqua satellite flew overhead. This true-color image shows streaks running roughly northwest-southeast, north and east of Alaskaâs St. Paul Island. A close look at the bright areas reveals that they vary in color, and have uneven, swirling edges.
The color likely results in part from blooms of phytoplanktonâtiny, plant-like marine organisms that thrive in cold water rich in nutrients. Like their terrestrial plant cousins, phytoplankton convert sunlight to energy, and the green chlorophyll that facilitates photosynthesis, combined with the blue of the sea water, often creates a brilliant blue-green.