What is phytoplankton?

  • (noun): Photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae.

Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton (/ˌfaɪtoʊˈplæŋktən/) 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". 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.).

Read more about Phytoplankton.

Some articles on phytoplankton:

Phytoplankton - Aquaculture
... Phytoplankton are a key food item in both aquaculture and mariculture ... Both utilize phytoplankton as food for the animals being farmed ... In mariculture, the phytoplankton is naturally occurring and is introduced into enclosures with the normal circulation of seawater ...
Colored Dissolved Organic Matter - Significance
... effect on photosynthesis and can inhibit the growth of phytoplankton populations, which form the basis of oceanic food chains and are a primary source of atmospheric oxygen ... CDOM also interferes with the use of satellite spectrometers to remotely estimate phytoplankton population distribution ... As a byproduct of photosynthesis, chlorophyll is a key indicator of phytoplankton activity ...
Chukchi Sea - Phytoplankton
... See also The blob (Chukchi Sea algae) In 2012, scientists from the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory published findings describing the discovery of the largest-known oceanic phytoplankton algal bloom in the world ... The findings were unexpected as it was previously believed that the plankton grows only after the seasonal ice melt, yet some algae was discovered under several metres of intact sea ice ...
Coastal Zone Color Scanner - Ocean Color
... of the ocean in CZCS images comes from substances in the water, particularly phytoplankton (microscopic, free-floating photosynthetic organisms), as well as inorganic particulates ... Because ocean color data is related to the presence of phytoplankton and particulates, it can be used to calculate the concentrations of material in surface waters and the level of biological activity as ... of life in the world's oceans, because phytoplankton is the basis for the vast majority of oceanic food chains ...
Phospholipid-derived Fatty Acids - Applications of PLFA Analysis - Phytoplankton
... Phytoplankton (eukaryotic algae) are microscopic photosynthesizing plants that inhabit the sunlit layers of oceans and bodies of freshwater ... Phytoplankton produce considerable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), including Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 205 w3c), with microalgae being the origin of omega-3 ...