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by Danna Martínez

Plankton is a group of marine organisms. Most of these beings are characterized by being microscopic. In addition, plankton is recognized as one of the essential organisms in producing oxygen on planet earth.

The term plankton comes from the Greek word planktos. The word planktos is an adjective that describes something wandering and wandering.

Plankton is found in both fresh and salty waters. It has almost zero swimming capacity, which is why currents can transport these organisms so easily. In fact, from that condition, it is given the name of traveler and wanderer.

Living matter and energy in the aquatic environment depend substantially on plankton. Plankton is the first link in the food chain within bodies of water. In addition, plankton produces approximately 50% of the oxygen on our planet.

Most species are microscopic. The standard size of plankton is less than one millimeter. However, there are also larger organisms. An example of large plankton is the jellyfish. According to Arizona State University, “Krill and jellyfish are examples of plankton large enough to be seen without a microscope. These large animals swim actively, but their movements are still and mostly controlled by ocean currents.”

The plankton community of organisms has different colors on its body. However, some of them are transparent, and others are bioluminescent.

Bioluminescence is a type of light that some marine organisms emit. Light is the result of the conversion of chemical energy into light. For this process, organisms use an enzyme called luciferin. Besides being a visual attraction, bioluminescence is a defense mechanism. Small flashes of light can disorient predators.

Plankton is an organism suspended in water. Its community is divided into two types:

  • Phytoplankton. Also known as plant plankton, phytoplankton are found near the surface of the water. These microalgae get their energy from photosynthesis.
  • Zooplankton. Also known as animal plankton, zooplankton is found in aquatic fauna. These organisms feed on other types of plankton. In addition, its size can vary between micro and macroscopic.

According to the San Diego Museum of Natural History, “the functioning of the entire ecosystem of the world’s oceans is almost entirely dependent on the photosynthesis carried out by marine plants, and in particular, by phytoplankton.”

The ocean, like other ecosystems, represents immense importance for life on the planet. Organisms as tiny as plankton generate vital functions. Thanks to them, the sea is considered one of the lungs of the world.

It is essential to give back to the planet the same way it has attributed it to us for years.

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