Dive on into science with Bill Nye the Science Guy’s “Ocean Life” episode.
There’s an amazing amount of living things in the ocean. There are fish, sharks, flowers, whales, squid, sea plants, sea anemones, sea otters, and all sorts of other things living in the water. But most of the living things in the ocean are so small we can’t even see them. These tiny plants and animals are called plankton – the “drifters”.
We like to think of two kinds of plankton. Phytoplankton – tiny plants, and zooplankton – tiny animals. Zooplankton eat the phytoplankton for food. Some of the zooplankton get eaten by small fish or grow into small fish themselves. Small fish get eaten by bigger fish, the bigger fish are eaten by even bigger fish…you get the picture. Without the tiny plants, there’d be no big fish. Even the ocean’s largest creatures, blue whales, eat plankton. All life in the ocean depends on these tiny, microscopic plankton.
So watch the “Ocean Life” episode – Bill is bound to make a big splash.
The Big Ideas
- Most living things in the ocean are too small to be seen with just your eye.
- Organisms too small to see support many different ecosystems in the ocean.
Did You Know That?
- More than 90% of living things in the sea are members of the plankton?
- At least a third of the oxygen most of us breathe is made by phytoplankton way out at sea?
Books of Science!
- “Life in the Oceans” by Norbert Wu. Published by Little, Brown and Company, 1991.
- “Marine Biology” by Ellen Doris. Published by Thames and Hudson, 1993.