June 13, 2009 - The Sea of Marmara

The Sea of Marmara

The region around the Aegean Sea is shown in this image, captured by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on June 6, 2009. The large light colored body of water near image center is the Sea of Marmara, located in Turkey. An inland sea, it is connected to the Aegean in the west by the Dardanelles strait, and to the Black Sea in the east by the Bosporus strait.

The Sea of Marmara isn't always light colored, as you can tell from this image from May of 2003. What causes the light blue is a coast to coast bloom of the Emiliania huxleyi species of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are tiny marine plants. According to Dr. Temel Oguz, a professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences of Middle East Technical University in Icel, Turkey, the Sea goes through a cycle of phytoplankton blooms that changes by season. E. huxleyi is what blooms in May and June, with two other species blooming in March and April respectively. For more information, check out this NASA article on the sea of Marmara. There is a MODIS image at the top of it showing this kind phytoplankton bloom at its peak in late June of 2003. Today's featured image is from early June, so it is not quite at peak yet.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 06/06/2009
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC