phy·​to·​plank·​ton | \ ˌfī-tō-ˈplaŋ(k)-tən How to pronounce phytoplankton (audio) , -ˌtän \

Definition of phytoplankton

: planktonic plant life

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Other Words from phytoplankton

phytoplanktonic \ ˌfī-​tō-​plaŋ(k)-​ˈtä-​nik How to pronounce phytoplankton (audio) \ adjective

Examples of phytoplankton in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fahrenheit above the long-term average—have meant there have been less phytoplankton and fewer small fish, which serve as prey for larger fish and seabirds. Miranda Weiss, The Atlantic, 6 Oct. 2021 According to Gleason, the low chum of the early 2000s was partially attributable to an anomalous phytoplankton bloom in the Bering Sea a few years earlier. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2021 Warm temperatures caused by climate change could also speed up phytoplankton growth. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 June 2021 The elevated concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were some of the most concerning descriptors because they are known to fuel phytoplankton growth which can lead to a potentially toxic algal bloom. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, 19 July 2021 For example, there is potential to restock ocean biomass through iron seeding of deep ocean surface – using iron-containing materials to create phytoplankton blooms. Felicia Jackson, Forbes, 24 June 2021 The mucus that has been surrounding marinas and washing up on beaches in Turkey is secreted by phytoplankton populations that grow to out-of-control numbers when high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous upset the ocean’s ecological balance. Washington Post, 9 June 2021 Since phytoplankton thrive in warmer waters, scientists suspect that climate change may be a factor. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 The elevated concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus are some of the most concerning descriptors because they are known to fuel phytoplankton growth that can lead to a potentially toxic algal bloom. Paul P. Murphy, CNN, 10 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phytoplankton.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phytoplankton

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phytoplankton

phyto- + plankton

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The first known use of phytoplankton was in 1897

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Phytoplankton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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