It's a little funny how many big words (for the most part) are used to describe tiny plankton. Can you match the words below with their descriptions?
1. These phytoplankton have a highly silicified cell wall-called a frustule-that surrounds their cellular material. After the plankton die, these walls become part of the sediment. They are one of the most abundant microfossils.
2. These tiny crustaceans are the most abundant zooplankton in the Bay. Some scientists believe that they compose the largest biomass on Earth.
3. This word is derived from the Latin word for seaweed. They are considered "simple" organisms and do not have distinct organ structures found in more complex organisms.
4. Unlike most plankton, which are moved by currents or tides, these plankton are able to move themselves using two whip-like appendages.
5. These organisms are planktonic (free floating) their entire life.
6. These organisms are planktonic (free floating) only part of their life-cycle (usually during the larval or egg phase).
7. Plankton is the term for a group of organisms. This is the term for an individual within the group.
8. This dinoflagellate, which occurs naturally in the Bay, has 24 life stages, four of which are toxic. One of these stages produce a neurotoxin which numbs nearby fish, allowing the plankton to create lesions on fish, which the plankton then feeds on.
9. This occurs when an excess of nutrients, such as phosphorus or nitrogen, fuels a rapid increase in the numbers of these organisms. This can create concentrations so dense that sunlight is blocked from reaching underwater grass beds. These blooms are usually short-lived, and when the plankton die, the decomposition process removes oxygen from the water, sometimes creating dead zones.
10. Scientists believe that these plankton were the first organisms on Earth to developed photosynthesis. They are able to take nitrogen from the air and transform it into organic molecules that plants and animals can use.
8. Pfiesteria piscicida