There are countless more life forms on Earth than are known to mankind, and many of these are microorganisms found in the world’s oceans. Far from being dull and boring, these tiny organisms can be full of dazzling color or have scary faces, like some of the creatures shown here. Planet Magazine brings you a slideshow of newly discovered species – phytoplankton and zooplankton that may be bottom of the briny food chain, but which play an integral part in regulating the planet’s climate.
Sadly, such organisms are disappearing before we can even get to know them all – at a rate of 1% a year, thanks to climate change. The Tara Oceans Project, a research initiative involving a 118-foot schooner and a crew of researchers, has taken on the task of discovering and collecting these fascinating life forms. The team has just completed a two-and-a-half year trip through many of the world’s oceans, and you can see more amazing images of these never-before-seen microorganisms in this stunning slideshow.
Amazingly, the journey just completed is just the tip of the iceberg. As Planet Magazine explains, “The ten-year process to analyze the samples is now in its beginning stages, while future missions by Tara Expeditions are being planned. Next year, the crew will visit the Arctic to create a new inventory of biodiversity there, and in 2014 they’ll head to the Pacific Ocean to study coral reefs, including visits to South Asia, which the recent voyage failed to reach.”