What are these 'nutrients' spoken of? Cross has a great explanation. "Nutrients are like LEGO bricks," she explains. "Nitrates, phosphates, silicates, ammonium, and carbon dioxide are building blocks of living organisms." When sunlight and nutrients meet, phytoplankton puts the building blocks together, and life flourishes. Clear, blue water is an oceanic desert. An influx of nutrients makes phytoplankton grow, so increasing the water's turbidity.