Initial Publication Date: May 4, 2012

Ocean Chemistry and Productivity

Compiled by Jen Millner at Montana State University

Find illustrations, diagrams and models about carbon cycling, phytoplankton, chlorophyll concentration, algal blooms, nutrient cycling and more.

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The Basics of Ocean Chemistry: Carbon, Circulation, and Critters (more info) This illustration shows how currents and upwellings affect nutrient cycling, phytoplankton growth and productivity. Visit the website for additional images of carbon cycling and chlorophyll concentration.

Coccolithophore bloom in the Celtic Sea (more info) This annotated Earth Science Picture of the Day shows a bloom of the phytoplankton E. huxleyi. Click on the image for a larger, more detailed version, or read text for an explanation of the organism and the phenomenon.

Atlantic Chlorophyll Concentrations (more info) This annotated Earth Science Picture of the Day shows two SeaWiFS satellite images of coastal, eastern North America. One image shows a quasi-true-color view , and the other image is a pseudo-color representation of sea surface chlorophyll concentrations overlaid on the quasi-true-color image. The two images flash back and forth every two seconds or so. Text on the page further explains the imagery.

North/South Vertical Section of the Atlantic Ocean (more info)

Temperature, salinity, oxygen, phosphate, silicate and nitrate.
These five links show graphs of each of these properties. A small inset map shows the exact location of section line. Side-by-side comparison of these images may help illustrate how physical and chemical properties are related. There are also links to data sets of many other section lines for the Atlantic, as well as the Pacific, Indian, and southern oceans.

Observe Annual Global Chlorophyll Concentrations ( This site may be offline. ) This Flash animation shows a composite of satellite images that reveal how plant productivity varies throughout the year. The images reflect chlorophyll concentration in the world's oceans which is interpreted as a measure of phytoplankton growth. The animation may be played forward and backward or stopped to observe details of any particular month.