Since April 10, a phytoplankton bloom has been occurring off the western coast of South Africa. Reports from water sampling at the site indicate that it is a rather unusual red tide containing a mixture of organisms called dinoflagellates and a species of coccolithophore called Syrachosphaera pulchra. A coccolithophore is an organism that has a chalky, calcium-based outer covering that reflects sunlight very strongly back from the ocean surface. Ocean waters that contain the organism appear very bright blue or green. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image was acquired April 22, 2003.
Iridescent shades of peacock blue and emerald green decorated the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina on December 24, 2007. Though hundreds of kilometers in length, these bright bands of color were formed by miniscule objects—tiny surface-dwelling ocean plants known as phytoplankton.