Hood Canal- a bloom seen from space

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Hood Canal Cocclithophore Bloom Washington | Natalie Coleman, Marine Biologist

For the second year in a row the water body Hood Canal, part of Puget Sound, experienced an extensive bloom of a microscopic plant, phytoplankton, which turned the entire canal a milky turquoise. In fact, the chlorophyll contained in these phytoplankton was so vibrant that it could be seen from NASA satellites. A large number of phytoplankton reproducing is usually called a “bloom”. Now you might be thinking wait I’ve heard of blooms before aren’t they always bag? The answer is sometimes, but not in this case. This particular bloom is from phytoplankton called coccolithophores which lack some of the toxins and acids that can build up with other kinds of phytoplankton. In fact, their outer layer is made of calcium carbonate (chalk) which is what gives the water a milky appearance.

Dabob Bay Washington | Natalie Coleman, Marine Biologist

 

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