When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color satellite image on November 17, 2016, phytoplankton swirled off the coast of Australia. The bloom gave parts of the Tasman Sea a lighter shade of blue. Like land-based plants, phytoplankton require sunlight, water, and nutrients to grow.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.