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Phytoplankton

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  • Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that live in the ocean.These small plants are very important to the ocean and to the whole planet. They are at the base of the food chain. Many small fish and whales eat them. Then bigger fish eat the little fish, etc. The food chain continues and at some point in time we (people) come into it when we eat the fish. So the energy of plankton becomes our energy too.
  • The name plankton comes from the Greek word planktos meaning wanderers. There are two types of plankton - phytoplankton, and zooplankton. Phytoplankton are plant plankton. Zooplankton are animal plankton. Phytoplankton include seaweed and algae. Phytoplankton are mostly made up of diatoms and dinoflagellates. Diatoms are microscopic, single celled plants covered by two shells that look glossy. Dinoflagellates are tiny plants with white shells all over them. The shells have a whip like motion that allows the phytoplankton to move. Those are the types of phytoplankton that are in our sea and we must protect them a lot.
  • Phytoplankton live near the surface of the ocean because they need sunlight like all green plants. Also need water and nutrients to live. Phytoplankton use water and CO2 to grow, but phytoplankton still need other vitamins and minerals, like iron to survive.
  • When the surface of the ocean is cold, the deeper parts of the ocean bring these nutrients to the surface and the plankton live. But, when the surface of the ocean is warm, as in El Niño, the ocean does not bring as many of these essential nutrients and the phytoplankton die. That causes a major problem because phytoplankton are at the base of the food chain. So, when the population of phytoplankton is reduced almost the entire food chain is effected. When phytoplankton die they drop to the bottom of the ocean.
  • Scientists believe that the sun’s radiation in the Arctic and Antarctic is killing off many species of plankton including phytoplankton. They die because phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to the sun’s radiation.
  • Phytoplankton growth depends on the availability of carbon dioxide, sunlight, and nutrients. Phytoplankton, like land plants, require nutrients such as nitrate, phosphate, silicate, and calcium at various levels depending on the species.
  • Some phytoplankton can fix nitrogen and can grow in areas where nitrate concentrations are low. They also require trace amounts of iron which limits phytoplankton growth in large areas of the ocean because iron concentrations are very low. Other factors influence phytoplankton growth rates, including water temperature and salinity, water depth, wind, and what kinds of predators are grazing on them.
  • When conditions are right, phytoplankton populations can grow explosively, a phenomenon known as a bloom. Blooms in the ocean may cover hundreds of square kilometers and are easily visible in satellite images. A bloom may last several weeks, but the life span of any individual phytoplankton is rarely more than a few days.
  • Phytoplankton are microscopic plants which obtain their energy via photosynthesis. They are important to the aquatic ecosystem because they are part of the primary producing community and assist in recycling elements such as carbon and sulphur which are required elsewhere in the community . They live suspended in the water environment, and form a very important part of the freshwater community. They move via convection or wind induced currents.
  • Phytoplankton inhabits around ¾ of the Earth's surface, which has had a fundamental warming effect. The phytoplankton in the Earth's water supply absorbs a certain level of the sun's radiation which has had a slight effect on global temperatures. Phytoplankton has caused global temperatures to rise between 0.1 and 0.6 degrees F, according to Science Daily.
  • Scientists in the Arctic have discovered the largest ever under-ice bloom of phytoplankton, likening the discovery to "finding the Amazon rainforest in the middle of the Mojave Desert."
  • Some benefits noticed by those using this Marine Phytoplankton as a daily superfood supplement are enhanced brain function, improved immune function, antiviral/antifungal/antibacterial effects, improved cellular repair, radiation protection, detoxification support, anti-inflammatory support, antioxidant support, improved circulation, improved heart function, allergy/asthma relief, suppression of symptoms stemming from degenerative disease, and a residual grounding energy overall.
  • When designing a microalgal production system, consider which species is most appropriate for the intended use (e.g., size and nutritional characteristics). Also consider yield, operating costs, and reliability. Microalgal
    culture is the most expensive and technically challenging aspect of all hatchery operations. The cost of producing microalgal feed ranges from $100 to $400 per dry kilogram ($45 to $180 per pound) of microalgal biomass (Wikfors, 2000). Algal culture accounts for about 40 percent of the cost of rearing bivalve seed to a shell length of 5 mm in a land-based hatchery (Ukeles, 1980).

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