We are creating an online catalogue of species that can be found in Esquimalt Gorge Park. To find more information on an individual species, its habitat, and identification tips, click on any image below.
Defining Phytoplankton and Zooplankton
Plankton can be broken up into two subcategories, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Phytoplankton are essentially microscopic plants that photosynthesize2. Zooplankton on the other hand, are known to feed on phytoplankton and are not always considered plankton for their whole life cycles. Species of fish, bivalves, gastropods, jellyfish and many other marine animals all have a planktonic phase in their life cycles before they mature into adults that we are all able to recognize!
In general, plankton are described as a diverse group of mainly microscopic organisms that are free-floating and thus unable to propel themselves against currents in the water. The exceptions to microscopic plankton are certain species of crustaceans and jellyfish. Plankton are an important part of marine ecosystems for many reasons: mainly because phytoplankton photosynthesize and are responsible for up to half of global primary production1 and plankton are an important food source for other animals higher up the food web such as fish and whales.
1 Creation of new organic matter by animals and plants.
2 Convert the sun’s rays into energy to support them, and they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
We will be adding to the gallery over time, as we take photos of more species in the park. If you have photos of species that are not in the gallery, we would love to add them! Please email photos to [email protected].