Phytoplankton blooms in the Black Sea

Phytoplankton blooms in the Black Sea

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Credit: NASA/GSFC/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Phytoplankton blooms in the Black Sea, satellite image. North is at top. Water is blue, vegetation is green. Ice and cloud cover are white. The Black Sea and its northern sub-section the Sea of Azov (right) are inland seas that form the southern border of the Ukraine. The Dneiper River (centre) is the principal river draining into the seas. Its catchment area is dominated by agricultural land and consequently it contains a high sediment load and nitrate level from fertilizer. This has led to enrichment of the sea water and a subsequent proliferation of phytoplankton (microscopic algae) in the sea. The algal blooms appear as plumes of discoloured water along the coast. An increase in phytoplankton can cause a decrease in dissolved oxygen content, which can make the water inhabitable. Image obtained on 15th September 2004 by the Aqua satellite.

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