Creature Feature – Zooplankton

This week is the letter ‘Z’, and today’s featured creature is Zooplankton.

Zooplankton are the animal component of the planktonic community, having to consume other organisms to thrive. Plankton are aquatic organisms that rely on water currents to move any great distance. Taxonomy is varied as species can be found from the Kingdom’s Protozoa and Anamalia and within them a vast array of Phylums! 

Zooplankton Fact File

? Size: Species can range from microscopic organisms, like copepods or rotifers, to larger organisms, like krill or jellyfish larvae. The biggest reaches up to 20mm. Megaplankton are animals larger than this e.g., jellyfish

? Distribution: They can be found in almost every body of water, including freshwater

? Diet: They feed on bacterioplankton, phytoplankton, other zooplankton, and detritus

? Behaviour: They are the favourite food of many marine animals so they have developed effective camouflage. The best solution and the one most often used is to be as transparent as possible or, in the case of many surface floating jellyfishes, blue

? IUCN Status: Not Evaluated. The diverse collection of plankton play a foundational role in aquatic ecosystems and serve as the base for most aquatic food webs. However, as human activity disrupts natural ecosystems, they are increasingly at risk. Pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction harm zooplankton and their larger ecosystems. Additionally, some species are threatened, with populations decreasing due to environmental changes