The Bering Straitthe stretch of water between Siberia and Alaskafeatures
some of the worlds most productive ocean waters. This Sea-viewing Wide
Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) image from June 26 & 27, 2000, shows phytoplankton
covering vast stretches of water. Phytoplankoton are microscopic plants that form the
base of the marine food chain.
The green water on the left features a high concentration of phytoplankton.
On the right, off the west coast of Alaska, a bloom of a specific type of phytoplankton,
coccolithophores, appears bright blue-green. Coccolithophores have white calcium-rich
shells that reflect sunlight and brighten the water. The coccolithophore
shellscoccolithshave persisted in the Bering Sea since 1997, but
appear to be fading.