Ocean color sensors measure the amount of plant biomass by measuring the color
due to the presence of chlorophyll. The concentration of phytoplankton
chlorophyll and other pigments is related to phytoplankton growth rate, also
called productivity. This is how ocean color gives us an indirect measure of ocean
productivity. In this activity, you can use images and data available on the
internet to draw some conclusions about where and why productivity is high or
1.Print out a blank map
and outline the ocean regions with higher productivity.
2. Color the areas of high productivity red on your map using a colored pencil, pen or
crayon. (To check yourself, visit the picture.)
3. Color the less productive areas on your map in blue.
4. Compare/contrast productivity near the coastal areas with that in the
5. Compare the productivity of ocean water near the equator with that in the
northern and southern latitudes in these areas:
- the mid-Atlantic
- the mid-Pacific
- eastern coastline of North and South America
- western coastline of North and South America
- western coastline of Asia
Now you should be ready to answer the Discussion Questions.