phytoplankton

[fahy-tuh-plangk-tuhn]
noun
the aggregate of plants and plantlike organisms in plankton.
Compare zooplankton.


Origin:
1895–1900; phyto- + plankton

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
phytoplankton (ˌfaɪtəˈplæŋktən)
 
n
Compare zooplankton the photosynthesizing organisms in plankton, mainly unicellular algae and cyanobacteria
 
phytoplanktonic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
phytoplankton   (fī'tō-plāngk'tən)  Pronunciation Key 
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Depth and life, specifically phytoplankton, both influence the ocean's color.
Phytoplankton, which sits at the base of the food web, has also declined in the
  last century.
In the water, nitrogen serves as a major nutrient for microscopic organisms
  called phytoplankton.
In the open ocean, surface nutrients are limited and phytoplankton are scarce.
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