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Productive Benguela Current

Productive Benguela Current

The Benguela Current that flows along southern Africa's west coast is a region of strong upwelling during much of the year. The nutrient supply in this upwelled water supports a high level of primary production by the phytoplankton which in turn supports a rich food web at the higher trophic levels. Sometimes, however, the algal biomass accumulates faster that it can be dispersed, and then algal decomposition depletes oxygen levels to dangerously low levels. A few weeks before the above image was collected, hundreds of tons of lobster fled such an anoxic event and died on the beaches of Elands Bay, South Africa.

Download the 23-megabyte version of the above 5 March 2015 MODIS image.