Phytoplankton: World's Most Underrated Organisms
We love trees right? Trees and other land plants give us supply of oxygen of course, vital for our survival.
But did you know that there are other organisms that are so underappreciated for their enormous significance to us?
Let me introduce to you the Phytoplankton! They are microscopic marine organisms and are the ones responsible for producing as much as 80% of the world’s oxygen.
Plankton are not just one species of sea creature but they are a large variety of tiny organisms. Algae, bacteria, crustaceans, mollusks, and more are all considered Plankton.
They are grouped together as Plankton because their extremely small size makes it impossible for them to swim against ocean currents, so they just simply drift with it.
Phytoplankton specifically, are a kind of Plankton that obtains energy via photosynthesis.
Phytoplankton may be small, but these tiny drifters play a huge role in ecosystems around the world.
Climate scientists right now are interested in learning more about Phytoplankton because of the role they play in oxygen production, as well as in carbon sequestration.
Of course, trees and other land plants are very important. There's no debate about that. But the Phytoplankton deserve great recognition for their significance to us.
So next time you wake up in the morning, stretching your arms wide open with that big morning yawn, that breath of fresh air you are getting is due for the most part to our cute little friends, the Phytoplankton. If we kill them by polluting the oceans, we are also killing our important lifeline.
• "The most important organism" by Dr. Jack Hall. Ecology Global Network | 2011
• "Source of Half Earth's Oxygen Gets Little Credit" by John Roach. National Geographic | 2014