Name of plankton: Ceratium

Where sample was found: Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site

Project: Microbial Observatory

Photo credit: Rachel Parsons, BIOS

What role do these organisms play in the ecosystem: The genus Ceratium includes marine dinoflagellates. Species of Ceratium contain two flagella of different lengths. They also contain armored plates that are composed of cross-linked cellulose. These plates can form horns.

Interesting facts: Some species of Ceratium are mixotrophs capable of both photosynthesis and heterotrophic feeding. Ceratium dinoflagellates have a unique adaptation that allows them to store compounds in a vacuole that they can use for growth when nutrients become unavailable.