An extensive study found numerous new functions of plankton.
Planktons are a diverse group of organism that floats freely with ocean current. They are composed of tiny plants and animals known as phytoplankton and zooplankton. They are the basic source of food of several sea creatures like whales and fishes. They also produce 80 percent of the oxygen present in our atmosphere.
Recently, a team of biologists uncovered that plankton is much more than a simple food of aquatic animals. They collected 35,000 above samples of plankton from all around the globe. The team covered nearly 87,000 miles in order to gather the samples. Virus, bacteria, fish larvae and single-cell algae were also included in the study. During the analysis, experts discover more than 40 million new species of plankton.
“It is certainly a broad DNA sequencing in the field of ocean science. Thousands of genes are discovered in the study. It indicates that plankton is much more diverse than previously thought” said Patrick Wincker, French National Sequencing Center.
At the end of the study, researchers concluded that planktons are an essential part of our ecosystem. They are highly sensitive to temperature. As a result, they vanish from the Earth in hot temperature.
The study is a part of three years old mission known as the Tara Oceans Expeditions. It is printed in the recent edition of Journal Science.