Plankton is the source of oxygen production in the atmosphere. It is an indispensable living source for both animals and men. These creatures, barely visible to the eye, still have a lot of secrets to give us.
There are more than 14,000 species in the world, in freshwater only, with a variety of shapes and ecologies. Concerning the ocean domain, which remains poorly known, researchers estimate that today there are more than 10,000 species.
The Phronima, a species of plankton served as a model for the Alien Monster. Transparent pelagic ctenophores, gelatinous animals that are part of predatory macro-plankton species, have inspired certain creatures in James Cameron's Abyss.
The word Plankton comes from the ancient Greek "planktós" which means "wandering". It refers to all living things, animals and plants, evolving in the water and can not fight against the currents. This is opposed to nekons.
Dinoflagellate is a species of both phytoplankton and zooplankton. The chlorophyllian species photosynthesize with plastids. Those that are not pigmented, feed on plankton.
Most plankton have bioluminescences of blue or green color. But there are also other bioluminescent forms. Dinoflagellate, on the other hand, uses an enzyme, luciferase, and a substrate, luciferin. Their accumulation causes efflorescence of red or brown color.
Some phytoplankton species (mainly the dinoflagellate family) produce potent toxins that can be concentrated in the food chain of shellfish, filter feeders, or some fish. They can be at the origin of prohibitions of sale of shells in order to prevent possible health inconveniences. These toxins come from pesticides; products used for road maintenance. If an infected product is consumed it can cause diarrhea, dizziness, paralysis and even memory loss.
In the 1960s and until 1990, the Soviet army was fed on krill. The Soviet Union had several ships in the Antarctic Ocean for one purpose: to feed its army. The Soviets knew that krill had astonishing nutritional qualities beneficial to the difficult life of soldiers. Krill was, like sardines, canned in small metal boxes, to extend their shelf life.
In a teaspoon of seawater, there are about a million planktons.
Zooplankton does not have the same vision as us, it can only differentiate light from darkness.
If there is a large amount of plankton in the water, it can make the water so cloudy that it would be difficult to see a submarine.