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This Tintinnid is part of the group of microscopic aquatic organisms called “microzooplankton.” (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Gast, WHOI)
This Tintinnid is part of the group of microscopic aquatic organisms called “microzooplankton” (micro, for small; zoo, for animal, and plankton, for organisms that aren’t strong swimmers and swim weakly or drift in the water). These tiny organisms consume other organisms, instead of making their food by photosynthesis. Many are single cells, some are made of many cells (multicellular), and some are even tiny larval stages of other ocean animals. Microzooplankton usually eat whatever is smaller than they are—bacteria, phytoplankton, even bits of non-living matter. They are eaten by slightly larger planktonic animals such as copepods, krill, or salps. Some of the microzooplankton, like some of the phytoplankton, are frozen into the sea ice in winter and survive there until spring melts the ice.
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