Plankton

Plankton are a multitude of living organisms adrift in the currents. Our food, our fuel, and the air we breathe originate in plankton.

In this episode

  • sipho300000
    Siphonophores
  • clytia_00000
    ClytiaClytia hemispherica
  • larveDeVelelle
    Velella larvaVelella velella
  • larve-danto
    Anthozoan larva
  • pelagia
    PelagiaPelagia noctiluca
  • phronime_00000
    Phronima
  • beroe
    Beroe engBeroe ovata
  • leucothea
    LeucotheaLeucothea multicornis
  • larveOursin-pluteus
    Sea urchin larvaeParacentrotus lividus
  • thumb_larve_mollusque2
    Veliger larva
  • gymno_00000
    GymnosomePneumodermopsis paucidens
  • dinoflagelle
    DinoflagellatePyrocystis elegans
  • diatomee
    Centric diatom
  • acanthaire_lithoptera
    AcantharianLithoptera mulleri
  • radiolaires
    RadiolarianAulacantha scolymantha
  • colozum
    RadiolarianCollozum inerme
  • appendiculaire3_00001
    Larvaceans
  • salpe
    Salp

Narration

Plankton comes from the Greek word planktos, which means wandering or drifting.  Any living creature carried along by ocean currents is classified as plankton. It ranges in size from the tiniest virus to siphonophores, the longest animals in the world, and also includes microscopic algae, krill or fish larvae.

Some plankton, like these jellyfish, salps, or sea gooseberries, drift all their lives.  Others like pteropod molluscs and fish are only planktonic during their embryonic or larval life. When they reach adulthood, they settle or swim freely.

Planktonic organisms play important roles in human life.  Many microscopic species get their energy from photosynthesis. They absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Thus, they constantly renew the air we breathe.

Plankton has also been a great provider of fossil energy.  When planktonic organisms die, they sink to the sea-bed creating a layer of sediment.  Over millions of years, this sediment fossilized, producing our precious oil.

Finally, plankton nourishes us: it is the basis of the food chain in which the large eat the small.  Without plankton, there would be no fish!

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Production
CNRS Images

Original Idea
Christian Sardet

Director
Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Scientific consultant
Claude Carré

Texts
Sasha Bollet, Christian Sardet

Images
Sasha Bollet, Christian Sardet, Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Editing
Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Voice
Nick Storey

Sound Engineer
Noé Sardet, Sharif Mirshak

Director of production
Véronique Kleiner

Production assistant
Céline Ferlita

Translation
Theodore Rosengarten

Creative Commons Licence :
Attribution Non-Commercial
No Derivative

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