What are plankton considered in the food chain?

What are plankton considered in the food chain?

There are two main types of plankton: phytoplankton, which are plants, and zooplankton, which are animals. Zooplankton and other small marine creatures eat phytoplankton and then become food for fish, crustaceans, and other larger species.

Where are plankton found in the marine environment?

They are mostly found in the sunlit zone of the water column, less than 200 metres deep, which is sometimes called the epipelagic or photic zone. Ichthyoplankton are planktonic, meaning they cannot swim effectively under their own power, but must drift with the ocean currents.

Are plankton primary consumers?

Phytoplankton are the tiny, plant-like producers of the plankton community. Zooplankton are the animal-like primary consumers of plankton communities. In turn, zooplankton then become food for larger, secondary consumers such as fish. Zooplankton include microscopic and macroscopic organisms.

Where are plankton found?

Plankton are found throughout the oceans, seas and lakes of Earth. However, the local abundance of plankton varies horizontally, vertically and seasonally. The primary source of this variability is the availability of light.

What is marine plankton?

Plankton are marine drifters — organisms carried along by tides and currents. Plankton are usually microscopic, often less than one inch in length, but they also include larger species like some crustaceans and jellyfish.

What does plankton do for the ocean?

Phytoplankton provide organic matter for the organisms that comprise the vast majority of marine life. They do this by consuming carbon dioxide that would otherwise dissolve in the sea water and make it more acidic. The organisms provide organic matter for the vast majority of the marine food chain.

Where are plankton algae found?

Algae are aquatic, plant-like organisms. They encompass a variety of simple structures, from single-celled phytoplankton floating in the water, to large seaweeds (macroalgae) attached to the ocean floor 2. Algae can be found residing in oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds and even in snow, anywhere on Earth.

How do plankton affect the food chain?

Plankton are tiny aquatic organisms that drift through the sea, forming the basis of the marine food chain. For plankton, both quantity and quality – in terms of nutrients – affect life up the food chain.

What is the role of phytoplankton in food web?

Phytoplankton are microscopic plants, but they play a huge role in the marine food web. Like plants on land, phytoplankton perform photosynthesis to convert the sun’s rays into energy to support them, and they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

What do Zooplankton eat in the ocean?

Zooplankton include microscopic animals (krill, sea snails, pelagic worms, etc.), the young of larger invertebrates and fish, and weak swimmers like jellyfish. Most zooplankton eat phytoplankton, and most are, in turn, eaten by larger animals (or by each other).

What is the marine food chain made up of?

The next level of the marine food chain is made up of animals that feast on the sea’s abundant plant life. On the ocean’s surface waters, microscopic animals—zooplankton, which include jellyfish and the larval stages of some fish, barnacles, and mollusks—drift across the sea, grazing opportunistically.