The Importance of Plankton in Pelagic Food Webs and Carbon Cycling
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The word plankton originates from the Greek word for “wandering.” Refers to the diverse group of plants and animals that spend some or all of their life cycle drifting in the water of oceans or freshwater lakes. Plankton is abundant and important within the marine environment. Most fo the Earth’s biomass, the mass of living organisms, consist of plankton adrift in the oceans. Ninety-eight percent of marine species are bottom dwelling, but the vast majority of the ocean’s biomass is planktonic. Many of these organisms are capable of locomotion, but are generally unable to move independently of currents and waves. This lack of strong swimming ability separates plankton from nekton, which include organisms that can control their movement in the water. Some planktonic organisms can be quite large, however, plankton are generally smaller than nekton. Plankton can be classified based on their feeding styles.
Phytoplanktons are a very important part of ocean life. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is in balance with carbon dioxide in the ocean. During photosynthesis, phyto...