What Is This?

These are patterns of plant life called phytoplankton around the island of Tasmania, near Australia. The photo was made in November 1981.

Patterns of Phytoplankton Around Tasmania
Phytoplankton Pigment Concentration

This image, acquired by a satellite, demonstrates the complexity of oceanic circulation patterns and of the relationship between physical processes and biological production. 

Why does the ocean plankton grow in such strange patterns?
Warm water cools and slips under cold water, creating a surface layer which is nutrient rich. Cold water contains more nutrients than warm water. This type of condition is perfect for the growth of plankton. 

More plankton feed more fish, which in turn increases the fish population. This is of major importance to the fisheries of the region. 

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