What does plankton mean?

Definitions for plankton
ˈplæŋk tənplank·ton

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word plankton.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. planktonnoun

    the aggregate of small plant and animal organisms that float or drift in great numbers in fresh or salt water


  1. planktonnoun

    a generic term for all the organisms that float in the sea. A single organism is known as a plankter

  2. Etymology: From Plankton, coined by Viktor Hensen and derived from πλαγκτός.


  1. Plankton

    Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms found in water (or air) that are unable to propel themselves against a current (or wind). The individual organisms constituting plankton are called plankters. In the ocean, they provide a crucial source of food to many small and large aquatic organisms, such as bivalves, fish and whales. Marine plankton include bacteria, archaea, algae, protozoa and drifting or floating animals that inhabit the saltwater of oceans and the brackish waters of estuaries. Freshwater plankton are similar to marine plankton, but are found in lakes and rivers. Although plankton are usually thought of as inhabiting water, there are also airborne versions that live part of their lives drifting in the atmosphere. These aeroplankton include plant spores, pollen and wind-scattered seeds. They may also include microorganisms swept into the air from terrestrial dust storms and oceanic plankton swept into the air by sea spray. Though many planktonic species are microscopic in size, plankton includes organisms over a wide range of sizes, including large organisms such as jellyfish. This is because plankton are defined by their ecological niche and level of motility rather than by any phylogenetic or taxonomic classification. Technically, the term does not include organisms on the surface of the water, called neuston, or those that swim actively in the water, called nekton.


  1. Plankton

    Plankton are any organisms that live in the water column and are incapable of swimming against a current. They provide a crucial source of food to many large aquatic organisms, such as fish and whales. These organisms include drifting animals, protists, archaea, algae, or bacteria that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification. Though many planktic species are microscopic in size, plankton includes organisms covering a wide range of sizes, including large organisms such as jellyfish.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Plankton

    plangk′ton, n. pelagic animals collectively. [Gr., planktos, wandering.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Plankton

    Community of tiny aquatic organisms, both PLANTS and ANIMALS, that are either free-floating or suspended in the water, with little or no power of locomotion. They are divided into PHYTOPLANKTON and ZOOPLANKTON.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of plankton in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of plankton in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of plankton in a Sentence

  1. Sam Slater:

    Rather than them being victims of these past warming events, our records indicate that the proliferation of plankton contributed to the expansion of marine dead zones -- regions where seafloor oxygen levels were too low for most species to survive, these conditions, with expanding dead zones and plankton blooms, may become more widespread across our globally warming oceans.

  2. Luiz Rocha:

    It's a really different environment : It's darker( because the water functions as a filter absorbing light, so the deeper you go, the darker it gets) and colder, there are much fewer corals, and almost no algae( because of the lack of light), so the fish community is very different and most fish at this depth feed on plankton( tiny marine invertebrates that live in the water column).

  3. Toby Daly-Engel:

    If the sharks disappear, the little fish explode in population, because nothings eating them, pretty soon, their food plankton, microorganisms, little shrimps all of that is gone, so all the little fish ultimately starve.

  4. Chris Bowler:

    Plankton are much more than just food for the whales, although tiny, these organisms are a vital part of the Earth's life support system, providing half of the oxygen generated each year on Earth by photosynthesis and lying at the base of marine food chains on which all other ocean life depends.

  5. Anastassia Miliou:

    With these giant exercises... strain is placed on the entire marine ecosystem, including fish and plankton, because (they) cause intense noise pollution from which marine life cant escape.

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"plankton." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/plankton>.

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