Plankton

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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the tiny drifting organisms in the oceans that sustain the food chain for all the lifeforms in the water and so for the billions of people who, in turn, depend on the seas for their diet. In Earth's development, the plant-like ones among them, the phytoplankton, produced so much oxygen through photosynthesis that around half the oxygen we breathe today originated there. And each day as the sun rises, the animal ones, the zooplankton, sink to the depths of the seas to avoid predators in such density that they appear on ship sonars like a new seabed, only to rise again at night in the largest migration of life on this planet.

With

Carol Robinson
Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of East Anglia

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop
Associate Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Plymouth

And

Christopher Lowe
Lecturer in Marine Biology at Swansea University

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Reading list:

Juli Berwald, Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone (Riverhead Books, 2018)

Sir Alister Hardy, The Open Sea: The World of Plankton (first published 1959; Collins New Naturalist Library, 2009)

Richard Kirby, Ocean Drifters: A Secret World Beneath the Waves (Studio Cactus Ltd, 2010)

Robert Kunzig, Mapping the Deep: The Extraordinary Story of Ocean Science (Sort Of Books, 2000)

Christian Sardet, Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Helen Scales, The Brilliant Abyss: True Tales of Exploring the Deep Sea, Discovering Hidden Life and Selling the Seabed (Bloomsbury Sigma, 2022)
2 Nov 2023 English United Kingdom Religion & Spirituality

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