Plankton Blooms, Capricorn Channel - related image preview

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Plankton Blooms, Capricorn Channel - related image preview


Plankton Blooms, Capricorn Channel - related image preview

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Plankton Blooms, Capricorn Channel

This image captures a plankton bloom in the Capricorn Channel off the Queensland coast of Australia. The whispy pattern of the bloom suggests that the plankton are Trichodesmium—a photosynthetic cyanobacteria, also called “sea saw dust” that is common in the world’s oceans. Trichodesmium is frequently observed around Australia this time of year. In fact, Captain Cook’s ship logs written while he was sailing in Australian waters in the 1700s contain detailed descriptions of Trichodesmium blooms. Astronauts frequently photograph large plankton blooms during their missions because a significant portion of the ISS orbits cross long stretches of ocean. In the process, astronauts become acute observers of subtle changes in sea surface dynamics. Imagery of surface plankton blooms offer multi-dimensional (in space and time) visualizations of the unique physical and chemical circumstances that support the blooms.

Astronaut photograph ISS005-E-21572 was taken December 3, 2002, and is provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

Published December 29, 2002
Data acquired December 3, 2002

ISS > Digital Camera
Astronaut Photography