Mental Floss

Feast Your Eyes on What Microscopic Ocean Plants Look Like From Space

Shaunacy Ferro

Image Credit: NASA/Ocean Biology Processing Group, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Phytoplankton, the microscopic plants that float through the upper waters of the ocean, bloom every spring as more sunlight becomes available for photosynthesis near the surface of the water. As the plants bask in the sunlit waters, they change the color of the ocean. NASA and NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite caught this swirly glimpse of the little organisms in South America, where November coincides with springfrom space. To the left are the Falkland Islands, just off the southern tip of Argentina in the Atlantic Ocean. Though some toxic algae blooms are toxic to marine environments, phytoplankton are food for jellyfish, snails, shrimp, and even whales.