What Are Plankton's Predators?

The predators of plankton include whales, sharks and many different types of invertebrates. Many species of plankton feed on other types of plankton, sometimes even cannibalizing their own species.

Plankton predators are numerous and include baleen whales, such as humpback whales, and basking sharks and whale sharks. Plankton is also consumed by crustaceans and many types of fish, both large and small. Even corals and anemones feast on plankton when it is available, grabbing it or snaring it as it floats by on the currents. Others creatures, which range from jellyfish and copepods to squid, also prey on plankton. Smaller versions of many of the same animals preying on the plankton, such as tiny jellyfish, are often part of the plankton.

The plankton itself is made up of two types of microscopic life; zooplankton is comprised of tiny animals, while phytoplankton consists of minuscule plants. Plankton is the basis of the entire ocean food chain and is often the reason behind epic migrations of animals. At certain times of the year, phytoplankton reproduction explodes in a bloom. This is caused by increased photosynthesis during summer months and sometimes produces a large bloom that can be seen from space as a green stain on the ocean.