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Queensland's Sea Sawdust

On September 20, 2020 at winter's end, Landsat 8 captured the above view of yellowish surface slicks in the ocean between the Queensland, Australia coast and the Great Barrier Reef. These long narrow features — cut here and there by ship wakes — are most likely accumulations of a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium called Trichodesmium. Such accumulations are sometimes called sea sawdust because of their appearance when viewed from ships.

Click on the above image to get a much larger (63 megabyte) version showing a broader area.