Many people might imagine that plankton are absolutely characterless meals for species of fish and whales.
Yet one marine researcher has pointed out the amazing variety and appeal of the group of marine microorganisms, which to the uneducated eye can look like tiny aliens.
Dr Richard Kirby has devoted his career to researching and taking pictures of plankton, which reside in massive quantities in the ocean.
Ocean Drifters: A Secret World Beneath the Waves, is his book, which places plankton under the microscope , so you can value their diverse and usual attributes, from the bulbous eyes and also furry legs of bigger zooplankton to the odd geometric styles of smaller phytoplankton, which is often a sort of algae.
The microorganisms include wandering critters, algae, microorganisms, and bacteria that reside in the sea, or perhaps fresh water.
The minuscule algae and the minute creatures that consume them float easily in the sunlit surface area of the ocean, where they underpin the aquatic food chain, offer the globe with oxygen and perform an important role in the worldwide carbon cycle.
The book contains high-magnification photos and describes how the life forms are struggling with global warming, which may have wide-ranging implications for the ecology of the earth, if plankton decrease in numbers.
The microorganisms cannot move against the current and are at the start of the marine food chain and are consumed by fish which often are ingested by other sea animals such as turtles, seabirds, dolphins, sharks, and seals.
‘Without the plankton there could be no species of fish in the sea, or animals that nourish upon them,’ claimed Dr Kirby, a senior instructor at Plymouth University in Devon.