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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Tiny Plants---Big Blooms

phytoplankton produce 50% of all oxygen on Earth

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, July 14, 2013/Categories: natural history, photography, sustainability, environment

Phytoplankton are microscopic microbes that float in the oceans. They account for the major portion of photosynthesis on Earth and are responsible for half of the oxygen in the atmosphere. At certain times, these tiny plants "bloom" in massive displays of rapid growth that is even visible from space. A recent phytoplankton bloom stretched across the northern Atlantic Ocean near Iceland.

Phytoplankton Bloom near Iceland  (credit: NASA)

Phytoplankton are also the fundamental "first rungs" in the ocean's food supply providing food to everything living further up the chain. In natural situations, when the blooms appear they are consumed in a feeding frenzy by fish and other organisms. If blooms result from fertilizer run-off into bays, the biomass dies, depletes dissolved oxygen, and produces the infamous dead zones off coastal landscapes.

The tiny plants can produce big blooms for better or worse.


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