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  • (Music)

  • "Stories from the Sea"

  • "Fish Tale: My Secret Life as Plankton"

  • (Music)

  • How did I get here?

  • Well, it's a stranger story than you might think.

  • I came from a world of drifters,

  • a place few humans have ever seen.

  • The world of plankton.

  • I came from a batch of a million eggs,

  • and only a few of us survived.

  • When I became a larva,

  • I moved among other drifters.

  • "Plankton comes from the Greek planktos for wandering"

  • My fellow plankton came in all sizes,

  • from tiny algae and bacteria

  • to animals longer than a blue whale.

  • I shared my nursery

  • with other embryos and juveniles,

  • from clams and crabs to sea urchins and anemones.

  • (Plankton noise)

  • We drifting animals are called zooplankton.

  • The most common animals here

  • are copepods and krill.

  • You could search the world over,

  • but you'd never find a place more diverse than my childhood home.

  • A teaspoon of seawater

  • can contain more than a million living creatures.

  • It can be a pretty tough existence, though.

  • Trillions are born here,

  • but only a few make it to adulthood.

  • He may be no larger than a pin head,

  • but this crab larva is an arrow worm's worst nightmare.

  • (Plankton noises)

  • Epic battles between carnivores like these are just one way to get food.

  • But the real powers of this place come from phytoplankton:

  • single-celled life

  • that transforms sunlight and carbon dioxide into

  • edible gold.

  • Phytoplankton are the base for the largest food web in the world.

  • During the night,

  • many animals like me would rise up from the depths

  • to feed on this sun-powered feast.

  • (Plankton noises)

  • I was part of the largest daily migration of life on Earth.

  • During the day,

  • I'd return to the darkness, where I'd join my bizarre companions.

  • (Plankton noises)

  • Cannibals, like this sea butterfly mollusk,

  • that eats its next of kin.

  • And comb jellies,

  • that beat cilia like rainbowed eyelashes.

  • Some of these snare their prey with sticky tentacles,

  • while others just take a bite out of their cousins.

  • And siphonophores

  • that catch prey with toxic fishing lures.

  • But my favorite would have to be the crustacean Phronima;

  • its monstrous looks inspired the movie "Aliens."

  • It can catch tiny bits in its bristles,

  • but prefers larger prey like salps.

  • With two sets of eyes, this female prowls the deeper water.

  • Prey in hand,

  • she performs one of the strangest behaviors in the entire animal kingdom.

  • With body parts from her victims,

  • she delicately assembles a barrel-like home

  • feeding her young until they can drift off and survive on their own.

  • Best of all, they make the perfect snack for a small fish like me.

  • Here among the plankton,

  • the food web is so tangled and complex,

  • even scientists don't know who eats whom.

  • But I do.

  • At least now you know a bit of my story.

  • There's so much more to me than just a tasty meal.

  • Written By : Tierney Thys & Christian Sardet

  • Narration By : Kirk Lombard

  • Animation By : Noe Sardet


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B2 TED-Ed plankton prey food web larva phytoplankton

【TED-Ed】The secret life of plankton - Tierney Thys

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/07/18
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