Marine Phytoplankton

Topics: Phytoplankton, Photosynthesis, Food chain Pages: 4 (1068 words) Published: September 15, 2010
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Diatoms are one of the most common types of phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words φυτόν (phyton), meaning "plant", and πλαγκτός (planktos), meaning "wanderer" or "drifter".[1] Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye. However, when present in high enough numbers, they may appear as a green discoloration of the water due to the presence of chlorophyll within their cells (although the actual color may vary with the species of phytoplankton present due to varying levels of chlorophyll or the presence of accessory pigments such as phycobiliproteins, xanthophylls, etc.). Contents


* 1 Ecology
* 2 Aquaculture
* 3 Blooms
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links

[edit] Ecology
Phytoplankton are the foundation of the oceanic food chain.
When two currents (in this case the Oyashio and Kuroshio currents) collide, they create eddies. Phytoplankton become concentrated along the boundaries of these eddies, tracing out the motions of the water.

Phytoplankton obtain energy through the process of photosynthesis and must therefore live in the well-lit surface layer (termed the euphotic zone) of an ocean, sea, lake, or other body of water. Phytoplankton account for half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth.[2] Thus phytoplankton are responsible for much of the oxygen present in the Earth's atmosphere – half of the total amount produced by all plant life.[3] Their cumulative energy fixation in carbon compounds (primary production) is the basis for the vast majority of oceanic and also many freshwater food webs (chemosynthesis is a notable exception). Since the 20th century, phytoplankton has declined by roughly 1% yearly, possibly linked to warming oceanic temperatures - as of 2010 this means a decline of 40% relative to...
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