Phytoplankton Bloom in the Black Sea

Phytoplankton Bloom in the Black Sea
  • Credit:

    Jeff Schmaltz

This image of the Black Sea, acquired on June 20, 2006, by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite, shows swirling blooms of phytoplankton coloring the surface waters blue and green. The large volume of freshwater flowing into the Black Sea from large European rivers, including the Danube and Dnieper Rivers, makes the sea much less salty than open oceans. The freshwater flow also delivers many nutrients, which are washed into the sea from land. These nutrients support large blooms of phytoplankton: microscopic photosynthetic organisms (algae and bacteria). The chlorophyll and other pigments the organisms use for photosynthesis change the way light reflects off the surface, and these changes are visible in satellite imagery.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 337x205
  • JPEG 76 KB
  • 1150x700
  • JPEG 221 KB
  • 2300x1400
  • JPEG 722 KB
  • 4600x2800
  • JPEG 2 MB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    June 20, 2006
  • Visualization Date:

    June 27, 2006
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration