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.
This image shows a colorful bloom of phytoplankton in the Black Sea on June 4, 2008, along the southern coast near the Turkish cities of Sinop and Samsun. The natural-color image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Loops and swirls of blooming phytoplankton follow the coastline, while farther out in the open waters (upper right), the blooms become more spread out. The greenish plumes hugging the coast from Sinop westward to just beyond Samsun may be river plumes. River plumes can contain nutrients that stimulate phytoplankton blooms, but they may also contain sediment and organic matter that can color the water.