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[zoh-uh-plangk-tuh n] /ˌzoʊ əˈplæŋk tən/
the aggregate of animal or animallike organisms in plankton, as protozoans.
Compare phytoplankton.
Origin of zooplankton
1900-05; zoo- + plankton Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for zooplankton
  • The other student roared off in hot pursuit of zooplankton.
  • The more salmon, the more zooplankton, and the more algae flourish in the lake.
  • But jellyfish are carnivores, so they depend on the herbivorous zooplankton feeding from the algae.
  • To take a specific example, zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, but they are eaten by fish that visually track them.
  • Their food of choice is jellyfish, though they will eat small fish and huge amounts of zooplankton and algae as well.
  • They will also filter-feed on zooplankton and other small organisms and have even been observed eating kelp.
  • Trillions of diatoms, zooplankton, and crustaceans pepper the ice column.
  • As the mud settled, tiny organisms called zooplankton were buried in the sediments.
  • They then journey out to sea, where they grow rapidly, feeding mainly on zooplankton.
  • Then as the zooplankton devour the algae, the ocean gradually turns bluer and bluer as the summer progresses.
British Dictionary definitions for zooplankton


the animal constituent of plankton, which consists mainly of small crustaceans and fish larvae Compare phytoplankton
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for zooplankton

1901, from comb. form of Greek zoion "animal" (see zoo) + plankton.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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zooplankton in Science
Plankton that consists of tiny animals, such as rotifers, copepods, and krill, and of microorganisms once classified as animals, such as dinoflagellates and other protozoans.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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