Not just whale food: Researchers reveal the bizarre and beautiful tiny organisms that form plankton Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Source: Daily Mail

Scientists have unveiled the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of the world’s ocean plankton, the tiny organisms that serve as food for marine creatures such as the blue whale – and provide half the oxygen we breathe.

The researchers spent 3-1/2 years aboard the schooner Tara, taking 35,000 samples of plankton from 210 sites globally.

For the first time, they have been able to determine the distribution of the organisms, tracking how they interact with one another and carrying out genetic analyses.

A hyperiid amphipod of the Phronima genus. These parasitoid crustaceans eat salps and use theempty gelatinous husks as protective shells.