Phytoplankton blooms form in the Bering Strait when the ice begins to melt. The algae consume nutrients released by the melting ice and use sunlight for photosynthesis. The large blooms provide ample food for zooplankton, which are also plentiful in the Strait.
This Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) image, which was captured on June 27, 2000, shows two large blooms. The blue-green water on the right, off the west coast of Alaska, represents a bloom of coccolithophores, a single-celled species known for its white calcium carbonate plates, called coccoliths.