Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) dyed with Alcian blue. TEP are  sticky gel-like particles that are released from growing phytoplankton.  Since they are sticky, solid particles will attach to them and sink,  carrying carbon deep into the ocean and continuing the carbon cycle.

Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) dyed with Alcian blue. TEP are sticky gel-like particles that are released from growing phytoplankton. Since they are sticky, solid particles will attach to them and sink, carrying carbon deep into the ocean and continuing the carbon cycle.