In collaboration with Natalia Llopis.
The oceans are fundamental to the planet’s health. With 71% of the Earth’s surface covered by its waters, it is no wonder why it is also known as the blue planet.
The ocean hosts a plethora of creatures, but one of them, the plankton, an undersea world of multi-coloured organisms that can barely be seen with the naked eye, is arguably the most important of all.
Plankton, which comes from a Greek word meaning “wanderers”, are drifting, directionless creatures, unable to fight the ocean currents. They are mostly microscopic, although organisms such as jellyfish are also plankton.
Planktonic organisms are divided into two main groups. Phytoplankton are photosynthetic organisms, what on land would be our plants, and zooplankton, made up of minuscule animals. They are so tiny that there can be thousands of organisms in a drop of water!
Despite their size, the truth is that plankton play a fundamental role in life on Earth. There are countless species of plankton, ranging in diversity from spheres to complex geometric shapes, each performing a unique and necessary role in maintaining the balance of the ocean.
Plankton are responsible for 20% of all photosynthesis on Earth and account for about 95% of the oceans’ biomass. Plankton feed fish, sharks, marine mammals and, in an indirect way, us. Without plankton, the oceans would be a lifeless desert of water.
As if all this were not enough, plankton use the sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Now, take a deep breath. Really, take another deep breath. Fifty per cent of the oxygen that has just entered your lungs is a gift from plankton.
There is a fascinating world down there, just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect it. Let’s not forget that these organisms offer us everything we need to live, so what can we offer them in return?
That’s the Nature’s Way. The Earth is giving, return the favour.