- the aggregate of plants and plantlike organisms in plankton.
Origin of phytoplankton
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- the photosynthesizing organisms in plankton, mainly unicellular algae and cyanobacteriaCompare zooplankton
Word Origin and History for phytoplankton
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Plankton consisting of free-floating algae, protists, and cyanobacteria. Phytoplankton form the beginning of the food chain for aquatic animals and fix large amounts of carbon, which would otherwise be released as carbon dioxide.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.