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Extreme Life and Environments
Phytoplankton from Bering and Chuckchi Seas


Scientists discovered a huge bloom of phytoplankton during a 2011 research cruise to the polar Bering and Chuckchi Seas. The bloom was happening in waters beneath meter-thick ice, even though scientists previously thought that the ice would block too much sunlight for large-scale photosynthesis. WHOI biologist Sam Laney, using an automated microscope imaging system called the Imaging FlowCytobot, gathered images of several kinds of phytoplankton in the bloom, including this image of the alga Phaeocystis, only a few micrometers in diameter, attaching to two cells of a larger algae species, Thalassiosira. Credit: Courtesy Sam Laney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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