Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a bloom in the Arabian Sea made up of Noctiluca scintillans captured by the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite.
The floating, microscopic organisms are dinoflagellates living in a symbiotic relationship with green algal cells. According to NASA, Noctiluca scintillans can multiply rapidly under the right conditions – just like ocean phytoplankton – and often thrive in low-oxygen “hypoxic” waters.
Using satellite imagery such as this, scientists have discovered an increasing amount of algae in the winter months, which is quite unusual.
“The changes we have seen in the Arabian Sea ecosystem are among the fastest of any oceanic water body on our planet,” said Joaquim Goes, a scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The habitat of the sea is changing, and that is short-circuiting the food chain.”
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory