For World Oceans Day yesterday, the BBC and Nickelodeon teamed up to produce this video featuring the Spongebob Squarepants character Plankton educating us on the organism plankton.
Every summer, the population of algae in the North Atlantic reaches a peak, with the blue-green color of the phytoplankton causing the ocean to visibly change, even from space.
Plankton are incredibly tiny creatures who sometimes look like microscopic glass snowflakes, drifting through the ocean's water column. But they are actually among the most important life forms in the ocean. This short video introduces you to them, and gives you a look at their mysterious life cycles.
The Russian press agency ITAR-TASS is reporting something so surprising that I'm having a hard time believing it: Cosmonauts have found microorganisms on the exterior of the International Space Station. Russian scientists are shocked by this discovery and can't really explain how it is possible.
Plankton are tiny. With the exception of critters like jellyfish and cephalopods, which are technically "megaplankton," most plankton are smaller than 2 millimeters long. Phytoplankton, the plants of the plankton world, are microscopic.
Take a dip in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, visit a surprisingly musical milking parlor, get swept away by the surreal majesty of "underwater rivers," and go birding in the urban alleyways of Cambodia—all in this week's landscape reads.
The Black Sea looks crazy right now, as you can see in this photo taken by the MODIS instrument onboard NASA's Aqua satellite on July 15. These intense swirls are the work of a microorganism called coccolithophore, a "calcite-shedding phytoplankton [that] can color much of the Black Sea cyan."
Plankton are tiny all by their lonesome, but every summer these tiny marine organisms take over the Barents Sea north of Norway. On August 14, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this giant bloom stretching several hundred kilometers over the Scandinavian Peninsula.
It's hard to know where to begin when calculating the effects that climate change might have on our planet, but I'm guessing most people haven't considered the smell factor. Global warming could super-charge the production of a particularly smelly gas.
Generally speaking, poop isn't pleasant, but it also isn't exactly lethal. But every year jellyfish unleash bowel movements so deadly that they can destroy entire marine ecosystems. A little odor doesn't seem so bad all of a sudden, does it?
This amazing image reveals a colorful mix of microscopic life and floating nutrients that have been churned together by the movements of powerful ocean currents. This massive bloom of phytoplankton is hundreds of miles long and visible from space.
Every year, the average sperm whale poops out 50 metric tons of iron, an amount equal to 30.3 2009 Hyundai Accents. These ferrous feces nourish phytoplankton at the ocean's surface, which in turn absorb CO2 for photosynthesis.