A startling study sheds light on the diversity of plankton. The microscopic organism can perform numerous functions.
Plankton is one of the basic components of Earth’s food chain. It makes nearly 90 percent of the mass of marine life in oceans. More than half of the oxygen present in our atmosphere is produced by planktons. Several kinds of planktons exist on Earth such as zooplankton and phytoplankton.
A team of biologists from Tara Oceans Consortium carried a broad study on plankton. A specially designed 110-foot schonner was used in the expedition. Experts gathered more than 35,000 plankton samples from all around the globe. The samples were collected 6,500 feet below the surface of the ocean.
The group took more than four years to carefully analyzed plankton gene. Surprisingly, they found that an ordinary plankton contain around 40 million gene. The figures are relatively four times greater as compared to genes in human.
Additionally, researchers uncovered hundreds of new plankton gene in the study.
Dr. Chris Bowler, researcher from National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), calls “a remarkable study”. He states that it is the most comprehensive description of planktons till date. It reveals thousands of types of planktonic organism present on Earth.