Plankton are very small, ranging in size from .002 mm to greater than 1.0 cm in diameter, and they also have limited mobility; they are unable to swim, self-propel or move with currents, but may move vertically within water columns. Just as their size is variable, so is the span of their life cycle, as well as the method of it. Some plankton, such as holoplankton, are free-floating, planktonic organisms for their entire lives, while meroplankton only spend part of their lives as planktonic, before evolving into larger, more complex organisms.
Phytoplankton (plant-like plankton that get their energy from the sun) and zoo plankton (plankton resembling animals) have vastly different life cycles.
Phytoplankton are very dependent on sunlight, so their lifecycles are seasonal. During warm seasons phytoplankton will experience “blooms” which is just a term to describe accelerated reproduction within a certain area. Eventually they will use up all the available oxygen and die out for a brief period of time, and thus the cycle continues.
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