Plankton

  

Plankton are a very important part of our environment. Many of them are so small it is easy for people to go through life without knowing they even exist! The kind of plankton you find depends on where and how you take your sample. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are just like any other kind of plant or animal; each type of plankton needs to live in a certain kind of environment to survive. Plant plankton needs sunlight so that they can make food for themselves through photosynthesis. Many types of zooplankton eat phytoplankton; but they need to be in very cold water to survive. Most types of plankton are microscopic, but some can be very, very big! Jellyfish are examples of big plankton.

Even though many people are not aware that plankton exists, we depend on it every day because plant plankton provides our atmosphere with oxygen just like trees in the rainforest.

Questions: Click on the question to see the answer

How much of our oxygen comes from plant plankton verses trees in the forest?

Since we got our plankton sample by doing a surface tow what would cause us to get more zooplankton than phytoplankton? More phytoplankton than zooplankton?

What kind of plankton do you think you would find at the bottom of the ocean?

What common type of plankton can be seen with the naked eye and can even be as big as a person?

Marine Biology
Marine Ecology
Marine Navigation

MICROSCOPIC
Anything that is invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen with the aid of a microscope.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS
Process in which light energy is converted to chemical energy by plants using water and carbon dioxide;
results in the production of oxygen and carbohydrates such as sugar and starches.

PHYTOPLANKTON
Microscopic, single celled, drifting photosynthesizers not able to swim against currents.

PLANKTON
Small, usually microscopic plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) in aquatic ecosystems.

SURFACE TOW
The process of obtaining a sample of plankton by towing a plankton net along the surface of the water rather
than dropping it down to the bottom of the ocean and pulling it up to the surface.

ZOOPLANKTON
Animal plankton ranging from microscopic larval sea stars to huge jellyfish.