Ocean eddies help jump-start plankton blooms that spread across hundreds of square miles
On this July 4th week, U.S. beachgoers are thronging their way to seaside resorts and parks to celebrate with holiday fireworks. But across the horizon and miles out to sea toward the north, the Atlantic Ocean’s own spring and summer ritual unfolds. It entails the blooming of countless microscopic plants, or phytoplankton.
In what’s known as the North Atlantic Bloom, an immense number of phytoplankton burst into existence, first “greening,” then “whitening” the sea as one or more species take the place of others.
What turns on this huge bloom, what starts these ocean fireworks? Is it the Sun’s warmth? (more…)