“This image shows a composite of a weeks’ worth of chlorophyll data estimated by ocean colour satellites between 23rd and 29th May 2020. Chlorophyll data is an important indicator for how productive the ocean is. Chlorophyll is the photosynthetic pigment found in all plant life including marine phytoplankton; the base of the marine food web. High concentration of chlorophyll implies a high abundance of phytoplankton and therefore, a high level of primary production. Plankton blooms can be seen developing to the west and southeast of Ireland and in the middle of the English Channel.”
– although this image looks similar on first glance to the other submission in this exhibition, the science shown here is vastly different. One fascinating thing to notice is that the scale (bottom of the image) is logarithmic – and why is that? Because plankton reproduces exponentially! This means that purple in this image shows a phytoplankton concentration which is around 1000 times smaller than the concentration shown by the brown colouring! Scale is hugely important in scientific graphs/images, and can usually tell us something important about the science behind what we’re seeing.