Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 08 Issue 02

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Volume 08, No. 2
Pages 59 - 60


THE FUTURE OF OCEANOGRAPHY • Global Distribution of Coccolithophore Blooms

By Cristopher W. Brown  
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Blooms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi regionally act as an important source of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and calcium carbonate and alter the optical properties of the surface mixed layer (Balch et al., 1991; Holligan and Balch, 1991). These blooms, often covering vast areas, can be identified in visible satellite imagery because of the large amount of light backscattered from the water column. Their presence gives the ocean a milky white to turquoise appearance. The ability to detect E. huxleyi blooms in satellite imagery, in addition to furnishing biogeographical knowledge of the species at time and space scales unattainable with shipboard sampling, provides a method to assess their biogeochemical importance on basin to global scales.


Brown, C.W. 1995. Global distribution of coccolithophore blooms. Oceanography 8(2):59–60, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1995.21.

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