Tiny plankton have a huge impact on the Chesapeake. How much do you know about these important members of the Bay's food chain?
1. Which of these is true of most plankton?
A. Plankton are excellent swimmers.
B. Plankton are free-floating.
C. The Bay's plankton population has suffered a severe decline.
2. The words plankton and planet are from the same Greek word. What does this word mean?
There are three major classes of plankton: phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria. Can you match the following facts with the correct plankton class? There are three for each type.
3. These tiny, one-celled plants are also known as algae.
4. Almost every fish in the Bay eats these at some point in their lives. Some fish eat these throughout their lives.
5. Some of these are native to the Bay; others arrive in polluted runoff or human sewage.
6. The overabundance of these is believed to be the primary cause of oxygen depletion in the Bay.
7. These are the primary producer of the Bay's oxygen and form the base of the Chesapeake's food web.
8. These can be as small as one-celled protozoa and as large as a multi-celled jellyfish.
9. Because they need sunlight to live, this class of plankton is usually found near the water's surface.
10. These feed on living species of the other two plankton.
11. These decomposers play an important role in the Bay by breaking down dead matter. When they do this, they consume oxygen in the Bay's water.