Plankton

Found in all bodies of water, plankton are tiny plants and animals that can’t control their movement. Some spend their entire lives as drifters, while other are in larval animal stages and grow into larger fish. They are divided into zooplankton (animals) and phytoplankton (plants).

LATEST POSTS

Foraminifera

Microscopic, single-celled organisms called foraminifera have a fossil record that extends from today to more than 500 million years ago. Although each foram is just a single cell, they build complex shells around themselves...

Encounters with Bioluminescent Creatures

Scientists describe the amazing bioluminescent creatures they encounter as they descend into the deep--siphonophores, ctenophores, and viperfish--in this Smithsonian/History Channel "Deep Ocean Explorers" video excerpt. If you like this video, watch the full 14-minute...
dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates: One Species at a Time

Ari Daniel Shapiro is joined for this episode of The Podcast of Life by science contributor Josh Kurz, who tells the story of dinoflagellates through "music from the bottom of the food chain." There...
Nine small invertebrates held on two fingers.

On Biodiversity: Understanding its Meaning and Importance

These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least one million species of plants and animals in the sea. Most...

Zooplankton Biodiversity

Holozooplankton are animals that live adrift in the ocean waves for their entire lives. The researchers who took part in the Census of Marine Zooplankton, a project of the Census of Marine Life ,...

A Ctenophore Feeds

The comb jelly (ctenophore) Thalassocalyce inconstans is found in shallow to deep water in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and sometimes in warmer Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of California -- although this...

Bioluminescence

You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know that...

Five Questions with Russ Hopcroft, Zooplankton Whiz

Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of its researchers to hear about their favorite expeditions, what they learned, and how the Census and its findings continue...

Thirty Days to Submission: How I Made a Video for Ocean180

Video of How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic ocean How do you explain a scientific paper in three minutes or less? What if you were being judged by...

The Hyper Eyes of Hyperiids: How Some Shrimp-Like Creatures See Light in the Deep Sea

Hyperiid amphipods are small crustaceans related to sand fleas and distantly related to shrimp. They range in size from very tiny to more than 7 inches long, and are found at all depths of...

15 Creatures in the Gulf of Mexico that are Stranger Than Fiction

Credit: © 2015 DEEPEND/Danté Fenolio The Gulf of Mexico coastal region is known for its seafood —shrimp, spiny lobsters, crawfish and oysters just to name a few. Crawfish and shrimp boils, where spiced seafood...

Shipboard Life in the Antarctic

The R/V Laurence M. Gould amid icy waters in Antarctica Credit: Danielle Hall Strapped in to a harness on the back deck of a 230-foot research vessel off the coast of Antarctica , I...

The Secret Life of Plankton

Imagine if a fish at the market could tell you where it came from; what would it say? "I came from a world of drifters," says one fish in this video. The world of...