Microscopic plankton get the big picture – Times Online

By | December 22, 2008

the larva of a jellyfishPictures of beasts that look as if they come from a science-fiction movie but actually live in their billions off the British coast will be on show in an exhibition that will be touring aquariums around the country.

Plankton, organisms all under two millimetres long, from the sea off the south-west of England have been photographed by Richard Kirby, of the University of Plymouth, and then printed at huge magnification to help explain how the plankton world works. Dr Kirby said: “They account for half of the world’s photosynthesis and help regulate our climate. They also form a food web without which there would be no fish.”

The incredible pictures of plankton reveal the startling truth of life in our seas and may make you think twice about going back into the water next summer.

The pictures show the two types of plankton; phytoplankton, which are plant-like, and zooplankton – animals. The organisms form a food web without which there would be no marine life as we know it. Among the varieties is one of the smallest animals related to humans; the doliolid that has a primitive back bone, called a notochord.

via Microscopic plankton get the big picture – Times Online.

Here is an interesting photo of a woman swimming in biolumenscent plankton. A person on 43 things wrote: “I would recommend swimming underwater with your eyes open in the bioluminescent plankton, the blue colour and the blurred vision was amazing.”

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