Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Minute, free-floating aquatic plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. plankton which obtain energy by photosynthesis

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That part of the plankton of any body of water which consists of plants, usually algæ.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae

Etymologies

From phyto- +‎ plankton. From Ancient Greek φυτόν (phuton, "plant") + πλαγκτόν (plankton), neuter of πλαγκτός (planktos, "wandering"). However, they are no longer classified as plants, so the terminology is showing a historical meaning. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Actually, most people don't know that this tiny plant life called phytoplankton is so small -- as small as bacteria -- that more than one trillion of them exist in a single drop of water.

    Alexia Parks: Your Life Depends Upon This Tiny Plant

  • The scientists found that long-term phytoplankton declines were negatively correlated with rising sea surface temperatures and changing oceanographic conditions.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • This is called a phytoplankton "bloom" and in the blooming, these little guys take up tons of CO2 out of the water, which in turn pulls CO2 out of the air (ie, atmosphere), and - presto!

    Rebecca Anderson: Climate Science Round-Up: Ocean Fertilization (or Climate Liposuction)

  • Each summer, an explosion of tiny ocean-dwelling plants and algae, called phytoplankton, anchors the Arctic food web.

    Shifting spring: Arctic plankton blooming up to 50 days earlier now

  • ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Microscopic plants in the ocean called phytoplankton are among the most important creatures on Earth.

    The Food Chain's Weak Link: Tiny Ocean Plants Dying

  • Increased UV-B radiation reduces the production of marine phytoplankton, which is the foundation for aquatic food webs, and a major sink for atmospheric CO2.

    Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4)~ Chapter 8

  • However, a key role is played by plant microorganisms called phytoplankton, which take in the dissolved gas at the ocean's sunlit surface as part of the process of photosynthesis.

    Oceans absorb less CO2 now

  • The chain includes the participation of dust storms in the Gobi Desert, the buildup of harmful sulfur dioxide over coastal industrial zones, and a burst in the population of tiny plants in the sea known as phytoplankton, said the researchers.

    Pollution May Feed Plankton

  • Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds << Back to Article  :  Discoveries   Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds Amit Asaravala 07.16.04 Microscopic sea plants called phytoplankton protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet radiation by releasing chemicals that ultimately lead to the formation of clouds.

    Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds

  • Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds  :  Discoveries   Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds Amit Asaravala 07.16.04 Microscopic sea plants called phytoplankton protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet radiation by releasing chemicals that ultimately lead to the formation of clouds.

    Plankton Cool Off With Own Clouds

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