Introduction to ecosystems
Introduction to ecosystems

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4.1.1 Investigating small organisms

In the next video you will be able to watch a marine scientist collecting plankton samples in a hi-tech way, but first listen to some background to the work as David Robinson talks to Penny Boreham about small organisms. Some of the planktonic organisms are single cells whereas others, such as the young stages of larger animals like crabs, are multicellular.

In the interview, you will also hear about an organism called ‘Tony’. Tony is found in a very unusual ecosystem – one that you may not have thought about before – and you will learn more about this in the video entitled ‘Investigating flagellates’.

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Dr Gabrielle Kennaway is trying to find out more about planktonic organisms within their ecosystems and she is using very sophisticated equipment to sample the plankton. She refers to the equipment as a CDT, an instrument for measuring conductivity, temperature and depth that is equipped with sampling bottle. She is particularly searching for phytoplankton, microscopic plant life. She will show you how phytoplankton can be detected in the water and she reveals a very interesting event.

Dr Paul Tett is interested in the behaviour of phytoplankton. He discusses the sources of energy in this aquatic ecosystem. Being small has advantages for phytoplankton and you should try and note the advantages that Dr Tett describes.

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