The Phytoplankton

  • E. J. Ferguson Wood


The microscopic plants of the seas may be divided into three main groups, each of which has distinctive characters and a somewhat different role. These are: 1) the diatoms (see below) which were believed to constitute the main element of the phytoplankton; 2) the flagellates (see p.55) which were formerly regarded as of much lesser importance, and which are regarded as plants by zoologists, and as animals by botanists; and 3) the blue-green algae, (see p.48) which may or may not have a blue-green colour, but have some strange and little-known functions, such as fixing dissolved nitrogen and turning it into organic nitrogen and ammonia, a process with a high energy requirement.


Warm Water Centric Diatom Diatom Cell Valve Surface East Australian Current 


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  1. 1.
    Schmidt, W., 1972. ‘Deep scattering layers’. Mar. Biol. 16.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Savage, R. E., and Wimpenny, R.S. 1936. ‘Phytoplankton and the Herring, Pt. II.’ Fish. Invest. London, 15, No. 1.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lohmann, H. 1903. ‘Neue Untersuchungen uber den Reichtum des Meeres an Plankton.’ Wiss. Meeresunters. Abt. Kiel 8: 1–86.Google Scholar

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© E. J. Ferguson Wood 1975

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  • E. J. Ferguson Wood

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