Coccoliths off the north-west coast of France, June 4, 2001.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Coccolithophores are a group of phytoplankton that are identifiable from space. These microscopic plants armour themselves with external plates of calcium carbonate. The plates, or coccoliths, give the ocean a milky white or turquoise appearance during intense blooms. This natural-colour view of the sea between Cornwall and Brittany at the mouth of the English Channel was taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer on NASA's Terra satellite on June 4, 2001.