As an introduction to the following Themed Section on the significance of planktonic organisms to the functioning of marine ecosystems and global biogeochemical cycles we discuss the ramifications size imparts on the biology of plankton. We provide examples of how the characteristics of these microscopic organisms shape plankton population dynamics, distributions, and ecosystem functions. Key features of the marine environment place constraints on the ecology and evolution of plankton. Understanding these constraints is critical in developing a mechanistic understanding and predictive capacity of how planktonic ecosystems function, render their capacities in terms of biogeochemical cycling and trophic transfer, and how planktonic communities might respond to changing climate conditions.
- COMMUNITY STRUCTURE
- Plankton Ecology