National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Large Phytoplankton Bloom Persists for Months in the Bering Sea

Satellite image of phytoplankton bloom

Credit NASA Earth Observatory with composite by S. Bell

October 16, 2014

PMEL and Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists have observed and sampled a large coccolithophore bloom, viewable even from space, in the Eastern Bering Sea during a recent October EcoFOCI research cruise.  This phytoplankton bloom is caused by the coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi, a one-celled marine algae with calcite plating, and has persisted for nearly three months, starting in July 2014.  Blooms of this size and duration have not been seen for over a decade in the Bering Sea. 

The satellite image from September 26 shows the aquamarine bloom with the white circles indicating sampling stations occupied by NOAA’s research vessel Oscar Dyson during the cruise.  For more information please visit the EcoFOCI cruise website.