What are plankton?
Plankton are plants (called phytoplankton) and animals (called zooplankton) that drift in the sea. They range in size from microscopic to large jellyfish. Many sea creatures you’re familiar with, such as crabs and starfish, start off their lives as plankton; these are called meroplankton. Other types of plankton, such as copepods, are planktonic for their entire lifecycle; these are called holoplankton.
Why are plankton important?
Plankton are a source of food for all sorts of creatures, including mussels, sardines and basking sharks. They are a vital part of the marine foodchain. Plankton are also responsible for producing half the oxygen in the atmosphere, so you could say every second breath we take comes from plankton!
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