Definitions

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

  • n. The collection of small or microscopic organisms, including algae and protozoans, that float or drift in great numbers in fresh or salt water, especially at or near the surface, and serve as food for fish and other larger organisms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a generic term for all the organisms that float in the sea. A single organism is known as a plankter

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. All the animals and plants, taken collectively, which live at or near the surface of salt or fresh waters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In biology: The minor animals and plants, including especially the lower organisms, that float or swim together in the water, considered collectively and in contrast, with those that live upon the bottom under the water, or on land.
  • n. The minor animals and plants that float passively in the water, considered collectively and in contrast with those that swim actively. See nekton.
  • n. Specifically in phytogeography, an aquatic vegetation consisting of freely floating microscopic algæ.

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

  • n. the aggregate of small plant and animal organisms that float or drift in great numbers in fresh or salt water

Etymologies

German, from Greek, neuter of planktos, wandering, from plazein, to turn aside; see plāk-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Plankton, coined by Viktor Hensen and derived from Ancient Greek πλαγκτός ("drifter"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • No one has ever found an adult of these puzzling crustaceans, despite the plethora of these larvae in plankton, leading generations of marine zoologists to wonder just what y - larvae grow up to be.

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • Studies show dramatic decrease in plankton as planet warms

    It's Official: OH Gay Marriage Amendment not just about Gays

  • This commonly occurs when wind and waves pummel the shoreline; the water movement pushes in plankton that attracts baitfish and, consequently, bass.

    Bass Against the Wall

  • Species classified as plankton feeders are increasing.

    Gulf of Thailand large marine ecosystem

  • The algae are food for plankton, which is food for jellyfish.

    Invasion of Jellyfish

  • As they move, currents flow around their bodies and deliver tiny floating plants and animals, called plankton, to the stinging cells on the arms or tentacles that trail behind the bell.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • One zebra mussel can consume a gallon of water a day and filter out the zoo plankton, which is also food for fish.

    Boston Weather, Breaking News and Sports from WBZ-TV

  • As plastics break down in the oceans, they look a lot like organisms called plankton that form the base of the food chain, Cousteau said.

    Scientific American

  • No forests are cleared for oysters, no fertilizer is needed, and no grain goes to waste to feed them-they have a diet of plankton, which is about as close to the bottom of the food chain as you can get.

    The Consumerist

  • Micro-sized plastic is an enduring hazard, as it becomes mixed with plankton, which is then ingurgitated by small fish that are then eaten by larger predators, says Expedition MED.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.