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Modeled Phytoplankton Distribution

Global animation delineating the dominant type of phytoplankton in the ocean.
Click image to view movie (MP4, 16.8 MB). Credit: The Darwin Project (MIT)
[08-May-18] Global animation illustrating the dominant type of phytoplankton in the ocean. The colors on this map represent the different types of phytoplankton modeled by a high-resolution ocean and ecosystem model known as MITcgm.

The four colors (red, yellow, green and blue) delineate the dominant type of phytoplankton at a given location. Red areas represent diatoms which are larger, silicate-dependent phytoplankton. Yellow areas depict flagellates - single-celled protists with one or more whip-like organelles often used for propulsion. The green areas correspond to tiny plankton such as Prochlorococcus, while the blue delineates other small phytoplankton such as Synechococcus.

Developed by MIT, the MITcgm model helps us understand the diversity and distribution of plankton communities. These models allow us to explorethe role of plankton in climate change, ocean ecology, and the carbon cycle.