The Biological & Satellite Oceanography Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz combines remote sensing with in-field observations to study phytoplankton in the Pacific Ocean.
They have a range of cool features on their website, especially the Imaging FlowCytobot Dashboard. Here you can explore the phytoplankton from an underwater microscope every day! Explore the data through images or a plot of the data. More information about the instrument they are using can be found here and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (those that invented the instrument) put together a User Guide for using the Dashboard. (They also have data from a moving instrument that the USGS runs here.)
Change the day you are looking at. Find your birthday. Look at last year on this day and compare it. Compare different months of data. See how the phytoplankton community changes over time!
If you want to learn more about the species of phytoplankton, check out their great Phytoplankton ID Catalog.
Help your students to see what goes on under the water in the microscopic world of phytoplankton!