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 (phytoplankton) are plant-like. Others (zooplankton) 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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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.