Plankton is a catch-all name for the tiny lifeforms that inhabit our water. They come in a ridiculous variety of sizes and shapes, but mainly two types: plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). Within those categories are an entire encyclopedia of different plankton species, each with their own ecological niche. Plankton drift along with the current, mainly reproducing and waiting to be eaten. As they are the bottom of the food chain, they are essential to all life on earth. They also excrete oxygen as a waste product and perform other chemical processes that help to keep ocean waters healthy for other living things.
Dutch filmmaker Jan van IJken recorded different types of plankton through a microscope and assembled this gorgeous compilation of their forms. Some look like inanimate objects, while others resemble critters we might recognize if they were bigger. A few of them may as well be aliens from a science fiction fantasy. -via Geeks Are Sexy