Plankton are microscopic in size, yet vital in food webs.
Plankton are microscopic organisms that play huge roles in marine ecosystems. They are the bases of al food webs and without them, the oceans would be bare.
The word 'plankton' comes from the Greek word 'planktos' meaning drifter. They are called this because, unlike fish, plankton is unable to move on its own. It is carried by the tides and the waves. They drift and are consumed by any creature that happens across it. An example of this is basking sharks, although they are huge creatures they eat very little thing, like plankton. They swim with mouths open wide and eat all the plankton they come across.
We know how much plankton is in a certain area by looking at the clarity of the water. Clear water usually has little plankton and brow or green water with more. It is these areas where the basking sharks love to come.
There are two maim types of plankton. Phytoplankton which are plants create energy by photosynthesis. These tiny creatures make up around 50% of all photosynthesis on Earth. There is also zooplankton which are tiny animals. The zooplankton tend to eat the phytoplankton. There are also bacterioplankton and virioplankton.
Plankton can be found in fresh and salt water.
Climate change and rising sea temperatures are threatening plankton populations all over the globe. It is vital that this comes to an and soon as it may result in huge population declines higher up the food web.