Scientists Say: Plankter | Student Science

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Bethany Brookshire

Scientists Say

Scientists Say: Plankter

Plankton is the plural of this strange word

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plankton

These tiny plankton float in the water, eating only other plankton and serving as food for larger creatures. When you refer to one of these organisms, you call it a plankter.

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Plankter (noun, “PLANK-tur”)

Plankton are tiny organisms that float in the water, some too small to see with the unaided eye. When you refer to just one of these organisms, you call it a plankter. Some are plant-like. Others are microscopic animals. None can swim against a current. Instead, they just drift along. They might be algae, jellyfish, archea, bacteria or larvae of a larger animal. These organisms are an important source of food for many different kinds of animals, from small fish all the way up to whales.

In a sentence

Some scientists hope that giving each plankter an extra dose of iron might help them grow and reproduce. When each mineral-fortified plankter dies, it could take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to the sea floor.

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Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

algae     Single-celled organisms, once considered plants (they aren’t). As aquatic organisms, they grow in water. Like green plants, they depend on sunlight to make their food.

archaeon  (plural archaea) A domain of life that includes single-celled organisms. Although archaea superficially resemble bacteria, they are distinct. Archaea inhabit many harsh environments.

bacterium (plural bacteria)  A single-celled organism. These dwell nearly everywhere on Earth, from the bottom of the sea to inside animals.

larva  (plural: larvae) An immature life stage of an insect, which often has a distinctly different form as an adult.

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