Phytoplankton in the Ocean

1439 Words6 Pages
Phytoplankton in the Ocean During the production of energy for the whole ocean population, large species of marine algae play only a minor role. Phytoplankton is the primary producer of the ocean. They are the organisms that form the base of the ocean’s food chain, therefore making almost all other ocean life possible. These microscopic photosynthetic cells are extremely abundant and substantial within the marine environment. A large majority of Earth’s biomass consists of plankton floating in the oceans. Phytoplankton can be divided into three groups of microscopic algae: Diatoms, Coccolithophores, and Dinoflagellates. Diatoms are a type of algae that are enclosed in a microscopic shell called a test. These tests are important because they accumulate on the ocean floor, which produces siliceous sedimentary rock that is used to make various household items. Coccolithophores are covered in coccoliths which are small calcareous plates made of calcium carbonate. This particular type of algae creates most of the calcareous deposits in the ocean. The last of the microscopic algae types, dinoflagellates, are the second most productive group of marine algae but they are not exceptionally vital geographically because their tests are biodegradable making them unable to be sustained as deposits on the ocean floor. Nutrients like iron, silica, phosphorous, and nitrate are highly needed by phytoplankton in order to continue the cycle of life throughout the ocean. Since they need light to survive, these tiny organisms must live near the upper portion of the ocean because that is where there is enough sunlight to power photosynthesis. The fundamental requirement of phytoplankton is that they efficiently take in the available essential nutrients from surrounding waters and expel the waste materials. Photosynthetic cells absorb the nutrients in the water around them and

More about Phytoplankton in the Ocean

Open Document