Mini Lesson

Energy and Matter: North Atlantic Chlorophyll (1997-2006)

Mini Lesson

Virtual Teachers:  Make a copy of the Google Forms LogoGoogle Form of your choice so that you may assign it directly from your Google Drive into your Learning Management System (e.g., Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, etc.).  Do you need help incorporating these Google Forms into your Learning Management System?  If so, read this google doc logo Guide to Using Google Forms with My NASA Data.

Review the NASA video below and answer the following questions.  This video shows biosphere data over the North Atlantic Ocean as a time series animation displaying a decade of of phytoplankton blooms.

  1. How can you tell what season is showing in the video?  Describe how can you tell what season is showing in the video.  What do you look for as indicators of change?
  2. Describe what the dark blue areas of the ocean represent.
  3. Describe what the greens and reds in the ocean indicate.
  4. Where do you find the largest concentration of phytoplankton? Explain.


The Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument aboard the Seastar satellite collected ocean data for more than a decade. By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine chlorophyll concentrations, indicating how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. Ocean chlorophyll concentration is essentially a measurement of the successful growth of microscopic plants, called phytoplankton. 

Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio, The SeaWiFS Project and GeoEye. NOTE: All SeaWiFS images and data are for research and educational use only. All commercial use of SeaWiFS data must be coordinated with GeoEye ( Data provided by: Norman Kuring (NASA/GSFC)

Teacher Note

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please contact MND from your school email address at

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