Day 13 – Saving the Phytoplankton

As a conservation cause, ensuring the survival of Phytoplankton doesn’t pull on donor heart strings like saving the whales, polar bears, snow leopards, elephants, wolves, or gorillas; but the health of our oceans, and in particular the Phytoplankton, is essential to our survival as human beings upon the planet.

Take a breath…and thank the trees. Now take another breath…but this time thank the ocean. Yes, the ocean. It has been estimated that 50% of the global oxygen supply comes from the ocean. How does the ocean do this? By providing a home to plant-like organisms called phytoplankton.

Similar to trees, phytoplankton utilize the chemical process of photosynthesis. They use the energy of the sun with carbon dioxide to create sugars and in the process release oxygen as a by-product. While there are 3 trillion trees on earth, there is even more phytoplankton. A single teaspoon of seawater can contain as many as 1 million phytoplankton!

Not only do phytoplankton provide us with every other breath, they are the basis of the marine food web. This means nearly all life in the ocean depends on phytoplankton in one way or another. For example, the tuna in your rainbow roll preyed on smaller fish that preyed on zooplankton that preyed on phytoplankton. Without phytoplankton, there would be no seafood. Millions of people depending upon ocean based sustenance would die.

Currently the Phytoplankton population is in serious decline, decreasing by about 1% per year globally, plummeting 40% since 1950. Learn more about Plankton. Learn more about Phytoplankton. Consider giving to a reputable organization, like MarineBio.org