Phytoplankton and Coccolithophores in the Bering Sea
Provided by the SeaWiFS Project,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE
The Bering Straitthe stretch of water between Siberia and Alaskafeatures
some of the worlds most productive ocean waters. This Sea-viewing Wide
Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) image from June 26 & 27, 2000, shows phytoplankton
covering vast stretches of water. Phytoplankoton are microscopic plants that form the
base of the marine food chain.
The green water on the left features a high concentration of phytoplankton.
On the right, off the west coast of Alaska, a bloom of a specific type of phytoplankton,
coccolithophores, appears bright blue-green. Coccolithophores have white calcium-rich
shells that reflect sunlight and brighten the water. The coccolithophore
shellscoccolithshave persisted in the Bering Sea since 1997, but
appear to be fading.
Compare this image to two previous SeaWiFS images of the Bering Sea:
June 15 & 16, 2000
April 29, 2000
For more information see:
SeaWiFS home page
Changing Currents Color the Bering Sea a New Shade of Blue
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.