Phytoplankton and Zooplankton

Differences between phytoplankton and zooplankton
Differences between phytoplankton and zooplankton

Differences between are given here Phytoplankton is a group of autotrophic aquatic organisms that have the photosynthetic capacity and are dispersed in water, while zooplankton is the fraction of plankton composed of heterotrophic beings that feed on organic matter, engulfing it and by larvae of organisms such as worms, sponges, shellfish.

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Phytoplankton is that fraction of plankton made up of autotrophic aquatic organisms with photosynthetic capacity and found floating in columns of water.

They are usually considered algae and are classified as bacteria (cyanobacteria or blue-green algae) and protists. It is one of the most important groups due to its abundance and great diversity.

It is found at the base of the food chain of aquatic ecosystems and serves as food for larger organisms and is originally responsible for the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis appeared evolutionarily with cyanobacteria. For 2000 million years, photosynthesis was restricted to the seas until the development of land plants.

Some species that makeup phytoplankton are:

  • Diatoms
  • Dinoflagellates.
  • Cyanophytes or blue-green algae.
  • Brown algae.
  • Coccolithophores.


Zooplankton is known as the part of the plankton made up of heterotrophic beings or that consume organic matter already elaborated. It is made up of protozoa and larvae of animals such as sponges, echinoderms, worms, crustaceans, rotifers, fingerlings of fish, and mollusks.

They occupy the first positions of consumers and feed on the primary producers or phytoplankton, bacteria, or other components of zooplankton.

Some creatures you consider zooplankton are:

  • Foraminifera.
  • Radiolaria.
  • Ciliates.
  • Jellyfish
  • Siphonophores.
  • Copepods.
  • Eufausiaceae.
  • Invertebrate larvae.

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Differences between phytoplankton and zooplankton

  • Phytoplankton is made up of autotrophic organisms. They are microscopic algae suspended in water and are part of the base of the aquatic food chain.
  • Zooplankton is heterotrophic creatures composed of protozoa and larvae of larger animals. They consume phytoplankton and other zooplankton animals.

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