In nature, plankton (singular plankter) are creatures that live in a water column and can't swim against a significant large scale water current. They provide a crucial source of food to many large aquatic (fresh water or ocean) creatures such as fish and whales.


An antarctic copepod (Calanoida ) is regarded as a type of plankton (about 1-2 mm long). image: wikipedia

Plankton often include a wide range of animals that vary from microscopic to relatively large(over tens of centimetres). Many are crustaceans or jellyfish.


Diatoms are a major group of algae, and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. image: wikipedia

Origin of the name plankton

The name plankton is derived from the Greek adjective πλαγκτός - planktos, meaning errant, and by extension "wanderer" or drifter. It was coined by Victor Hensen. Plankton typically flow with ocean currents.