Phytoplankton Bloom

This incredible false-color satellite image shows a cyanobacteria phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Sea. The image is roughly 900 km across and is beautifully detailed. Check out the full resolution version. The tiny phytoplankton act like tracer particles in the flow, sketching out the massive whorls as well as the tiny lacy wisps that make up the turbulent sea. Beautiful as they appear from orbit, such massive blooms can be dangerous to animal life, depriving large areas of the oxygen other animals need to survive. In recent years more and more large phytoplankton blooms are happening around the world as agricultural and industrial run-off supply waters with excess nitrogen and other nutrients favored by the phytoplankton. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

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