This is a planktonic collage from an algae bloom in the North Pacific Ocean put together by biological oceanographer, Mary Wilcox Silver.
It's a long way from the Southern Ocean where the icebreaker Polarstern sailed on an expedition from the Alfred Wegener Institute. The scientists mission was to obtain data on how much surface-drifting plankton algae can reduce the the carbon dioxide of the surface waters.
The expedition started in Cape Town on November 28, 2007. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann of the Institute, 53 scientists from 9 countries studied the biological carbon pump in the Southern Ocean. They discovered, amongst other things, that melting sea ice has created a pool of fresh water on the sea surface.
They also discovered and investigated an algal carpet drifting in the water near the edge of the sea ice. This bloom measured 700,000 square kilometres, i.e. approximately twice the size of Germany. There was a significant decrease in the carbon dioxide of the surface water. The scientists collected data from the surface bloom down the water column to the species living on the seafloor, the first time this has been done.
The Polarstern has already left for the next Antarctice expedition to record current physical and biogeochemical conditions in the Southern Ocean. It will be deploying buoys and drift units designed to sink to deep water to measure ocean currents and interactions between sea and ice, ocean and atmosphere.
This is scientific research. Killing whales is profit.