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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Some of the planet’s tiniest organisms are visible from space. Phytoplankton — single-celled, water-dwelling algae — are one-millionth of a meter in size and produce about half the oxygen we breathe. Millions of phytoplankton swirl around in jugs of seawater, collected just moments before from the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. “These vessels don’t have the equipment we usually use to do our work, so we had to improvise,” Adrian Marchetti, a UNC-Chapel Hill oceanographer, says with a laugh.

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