- the aggregate of passively floating, drifting, or somewhat motile organisms occurring in a body of water, primarily comprising microscopic algae and protozoa.
Origin of plankton
Examples from the Web for planktonic
Planktonic forms, in fact, proved to be the most sensitive indicators of the presence of radioactivity in the marine environment.Atoms, Nature, and Man
Neal O. Hines
But in all probability the planktonic larva rests on the sea-bottom little if at all before metamorphosing.A Guide to the Study of Fishes, Volume 1 (of 2)
David Starr Jordan
- the organisms inhabiting the surface layer of a sea or lake, consisting of small drifting plants and animals, such as diatomsCompare nekton
Word Origin and History for planktonic
1891, from German Plankton (1887), coined by German physiologist Viktor Hensen (1835-1924) from Greek plankton, neuter of planktos "wandering, drifting," verbal adjective from plazesthai "to wander, drift," from plazein "to drive astray," from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike, hit" (see plague (n.)). Related: Planktonic.
- Small organisms that float or drift in great numbers in bodies of salt or fresh water. Plankton is a primary food source for many animals, and consists of bacteria, protozoans, certain algae, cnidarians, tiny crustaceans such as copepods, and many other organisms. Compare benthos nekton.