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What is Phytoplankton



What is Marine Phytoplankton?

Marine phytoplankton are microscopic, single-celled aquatic plants that are said to be responsible for producing most of the oxygen in our atmosphere. They comprise the beginning of the ocean food chain, whereas all creatures in the ocean feed on phytoplankton or on other creatures that feed on phytoplankton. Marine phytoplankton are considered one of the most valuable sources of nutrition on Earth--with highly concentrated antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, all 10 essential amino acids, enzymes, chlorophyll and other pigments known to be beneficial for our health. Due to a unique cellular structure and microscopic size, marine phytoplankton are believed to penetrate the cellular level of the body, thereby providing fast nutritional support where needed. (See also Marine Phytoplankton Nutritional Information.)


What Does Phytoplankton Mean?

The term phytoplankton is derived from the Greek words phyton (which means plant), and planktos (which means wanderer or drifter.)

Phytoplankton (more commonly known as "plankton") come in many shapes and forms--with over 5,000 known species, each representing as many as 30 unique strains--totaling over 40,000 unique types! They are microscopic organisms that inhabit the upper sunlit layer of the oceans and bodies of fresh water. Plankton are responsible for the creation of organic compounds (nutrients) from carbon dioxide dissolved in the water--a vital planetary process that sustains the aquatic food web. Phytoplankton obtain energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis, accounting for half of all photosynthetic activity on Earth.

Phytoplankton Food Chain
(Graphic representation of the food chain on earth)


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