Plankton also serve as decomposers and detritivores at the bottom of the food chain. They decompose organic matter such as dead organisms and decaying plant material.
In addition, some species of plankton are eaten by larger animals, who in turn are eaten by still larger animals. Thus, all three levels of the food chain benefit from the presence of plankton.
Plankton are sometimes called "living debris" because they are formed by the decay of plants and animals. However, unlike soil, which is constantly changing due to weathering and erosion, oceanic plankton are relatively stable because there is no land to erode away their shells or bury them under rock.
Furthermore, unlike terrestrial organisms that can move if they find a better spot for survival, marine organisms have no choice but to stay where they are deposited by currents or washed ashore. This means that over time most marine organisms will grow almost exactly like land plants do in soils—they will be shaped by gravity and exposed to the elements. Over time, this will cause them to wear away or fall apart if they aren't fed by water or wind-blown particles.
Planktons are essential components of the oceanic food chain. They also serve as the principal food supply for zooplankton, forming the foundation of the oceanic food chain. Larger zooplankton, fish, birds, and marine mammals rely on these plankton for survival. Without plankton there would be no fish or other marine animals because there would be no food for them to eat.
Plankton is very important for marine ecosystems because it forms the basis of the food chain that all other life depends on. Fish, larger organisms such as whales, and even small organisms like krill feed on plankton so they can grow large enough to be eaten by a predator. Without this primary source of food, there would be no more fish or other marine animals because there would be no one left to eat them.
There are several types of plankton. Ameobians are single-celled organisms such as bacteria, archaea, and protists. Zooplankton are multicellular organisms such as shrimp, jellyfish, and krill that feed on smaller organisms such as algae and fungi. Macroplankton are large organisms such as phytoplankton (microscopic plants) that drift with the current, get blown away by winds, or are suspended in water bodies where they can sink or float. Microplankton are extremely small organisms that require microscopes to be seen with the naked eye.
Phytoplankton photosynthesis contributes for up to half of world primary output. Plankton plays a crucial role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in its shell material until it falls to deeper waters or is consumed. In addition, they provide nutrients that help fuel larger organisms such as fish.
The word "plankton" comes from the Greek words plakos meaning sheet and trechos meaning feeding. Thus, plankton are small floating bodies that are eaten by larger animals. Plankton can be divided into three major groups: algae, bacteria, and protists. Algae include single-celled plants such as cyanobacteria and multicellular plants such as seaweeds. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that lack a cell nucleus; instead their cells contain many tiny compartments called vacuoles that function as storage facilities for energy-rich molecules. Proteins and other substances are manufactured within the cell and stored there before being released when needed. Protists are even simpler than bacteria; they only have plasma membranes without any internal organs such as vacuoles or mitochondria. Instead, they obtain their energy from photosynthesis like phytoplankton.
Marine plankton, which may be found in all ocean habitats, serve an important part in sustaining the ocean's health and balance, as well as its intricate food webs. The oxygen, nutrients, and biomass they create also support terrestrial life, ranging from the food we consume to the air we breathe. Phytoplankton, or marine plant life, accounts for more than half of the total carbon pool in the world's oceans, while zooplankton, or marine animal life, includes organisms as small as 0.5 millimeters (mm) across.
Plankton are key players in the ocean ecosystem, helping to regulate heat loss from the water to space and providing nutrients for larger organisms to eat. They also play a role in cloud formation and can affect local weather patterns. Humans depend on the ocean for survival because it provides us with oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide, two gases that contribute to global climate change. As humans interfere with the natural balance of the ocean by overfishing or polluting it with toxic chemicals, they risk causing irreversible damage that could lead to sea-level rise, thermal expansion, and acidification.
However, there are ways to help the ocean without damaging it. Reducing pollution is the best way to protect the ocean from harmful substances. At the same time, maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems can help prevent some forms of pollution by removing these substances from the water.
Plankton of several kinds Plankton are the invisible heroes of many ecosystems, feeding a diverse range of organisms ranging from microscopic bivalves to whales. Plankton, despite their minuscule size, play an important part in marine ecosystems. They serve as the foundation for the entire marine food web. Without these tiny creatures, ocean life would be very different.
Not all plankton are small though. Some species are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, while others are smaller than some bacteria. Plankton come in many shapes and sizes. There are multicellular organisms such as phytoplankton and zooplankton, and there are also single-celled organisms like prasinophytes (golden algae) and radiolarians (silica animals). In addition, there are other organisms that combine features of both multicellular and unicellular plants or animals, such as stromatolites (laminae formed by sediment deposited by running water) which are believed to be evolutionary precursors to reefs.
Phytoplankton are the largest type of plankton, and they account for about 50% of the total biomass in the world's oceans. Phytoplankton are responsible for producing half of all oxygen on Earth, so they are essential for life as we know it.