by Matthew Cobb
Richard Kirby is a Research Fellow at Plymouth University in the UK, and he specialises in the study of plankton. As part of his long-term research programme, he’s just released ‘Ocean Drifters’, an excellent 16 min video, narrated by David Attenborough. The video explains the variety and importance of plankton, focusing not only their cool life-cyles (many of the zooplankton are larval stages of sponges, jellyfish, molluscs and arthropods) but above all on their role in the carbon cycle.
Plankton help make the sea smell of the sea, they contribute to the existence of clouds (oh yes) and above all, the phytoplankton capture carbon and release oxygen. I cannot emphasise too much how important this video is. It takes 16 minutes of your life, but it will show you the immense importance and staggering beauty of this vital part of our ecosystem. Watch on full screen and, if you can, HD.
h/t @JenniferFrazer who has a great page about this over at SciAm blogs.
For more info, including links to a book and details of the research behind the video, see Richard’s university website.