phy·to·plank·ton | \ˌfī-tō-ˈplaŋ(k)-tən, -ˌtän\

Definition of phytoplankton 

: planktonic plant life

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Other Words from phytoplankton

phytoplanktonic \ˌfī-tō-plaŋ(k)-ˈtä-nik \ adjective

Examples of phytoplankton in a Sentence

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When phytoplankton die, their remains sink to the twilight zone, carrying some of their carbon with them. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Is Stepping Into the Twilight Zone," 19 June 2018 When spring arrives, two primary factors create a change: the phytoplankton bloom removes CO2 from the water through photosynthesis, and the water gets warmer, making conditions more favorable for shell production. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "For Alaska sockeye salmon, record highs in Bristol Bay, record lows nearly everywhere else," 9 July 2018 The phytoplankton themselves live above the twilight zone, residing in the sunlit upper ocean. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Is Stepping Into the Twilight Zone," 19 June 2018 The omnivorous crustaceans graze on phytoplankton in open water, and some larger adults crawl along the sea floor. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "Thousands of Tiny Red Crustaceans Strand on California Beach," 12 June 2018 Some experts suggest that algae and other forms of phytoplankton in the water may get a boost from the extra sunlight. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Arctic Sea Ice Is Getting Younger. Here Is Why That Is a Problem.," 11 May 2018 These whales usually rely on current upwellings from deep waters to fertilize phytoplankton, which are eaten by zooplankton, which are in turn consumed by the tiny critters that whales love to eat. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Huge Blue Whale Sighted in the Red Sea for the First Time," 2 June 2018 In the old canal town of Lockport this summer, art goes beyond traditional oil painting or sketching to incorporate materials such as phytoplankton, neon and grow lights, Mississippi River mud and digital information woven into fabric. Daily Southtown, "Lockport's annual summer series to celebrate art and history," 31 May 2018 The algae bloom is filled with bioluminescent phytoplankton that lights up when the micro-organisms tumble down the face of waves at and near the shore. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: A political odd couple," 10 May 2018

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

International Scientific Vocabulary

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29 Sep 2018

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The first known use of phytoplankton was in 1897

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