Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Phytoplankton Bloom Captured by Satellite Image

A giant bloom photographed by satellite off the west coast of Ireland is harmless, according to the Marine Institute. Images of the phytoplankton bloom were captured last week by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

It has caused the sea to turn a milk-white colour, due to the dense accumulation of phytoplankton known as Emiliania huxleyi in response to warm surface water and sunlight. Billions of microscopic cells have formed the bloom, which tends to occur in summer months.

Marine Institute scientist Joe Silke explained that they “form the base of the marine food chain and are important contributors of atmospheric oxygen and essential components of a healthy oceanic biodiversity”.

A satellite image from the European Space Agency showing the swirls of phytoplankton blooms south of a cloud bank off the coast of Ireland. Photograph: European Space Agency [via: Irish Times]


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