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Published on Nov 15, 2007
Over half of the oxygen that we breathe is produced by single-celled plankton that live in the ocean. Using the SeaWifs satellite we can see how the concentration of phytoplankton change over the year. In this animation, blues are low concentrations, reds are high concentrations of chlorophyll (the pigment used by phytoplankton to go through photosynthesis and produce oxygen). Notice how the concentrations fluctuate over the course of the year...especially in the poles, where there are up to 4 months without sunlight. This data can also be used to identify harmful algal blooms.