Phytoplanktons 

#GS3 #Environment  

Researchers have discovered way to measure the quantity of chlorophyll-a in the Bay of Bengal — a dominant pigment found in phytoplankton cell and present in a few areas of the ocean — in real-time. The research was carried out by a team of scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

About Phytoplanktons  

  • Phytoplanktons are plants while zooplanktons are animals, this is the main difference between them. Other Crustaceans, krills are examples of zooplanktons; algae and diatoms are examples of phytoplanktons. 
  • These two types of planktons float on water surfaces. Both are economically important and are similar in size.  
  • While phytoplanktons are a source of primary producers in the aquatic food chains, zooplanktons are consumers, it eats phytoplanktons.  
  • Phytoplanktons either produce food through chemosynthesis or photosynthesis. They are known to liberate large amounts of oxygen through photosynthesis and are deemed as good indicators of ocean health. 

What Is Phytoplankton and Zooplankton? 

 

Phytoplankton 

  • Commonly known as microalgae, they are autotrophic planktons 
  • They either can be chemosynthetic or photosynthetic 
  • Can be found harbouring both freshwater habitats as well as marine habitats 
  • Chemosynthetic phytoplanktons are found in deep sections of the water bodies wherein sunlight does not reach and photosynthetic phyoplanktons grow in the upper layer of water bodies where sunlight reaches 
  • Dinoflagellates and diatoms are two main types of phytoplanktons 

 

Zooplanktons 

  • Found in both marine and freshwater habitats 
  • Found floating in the middle layer of water bodies 
  • They are heterotrophs consuming phytoplanktons hence they are primary or secondary consumers in the aquatic food chains 
  • Two main types of zooplanktons are meroplankton and holoplankton 
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