Plankton and Algae Common to Lake Erie | Ohio Sea Grant

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Plankton and Algae Common to Lake Erie

A collection of images of algae and zooplankton commonly found in Lake Erie

Algae and microinvertebrates are a vital component of freshwater and marine food webs. Algae are small plant-like organisms that produce oxygen and sugars at the base of the food web. Microinvertebrates are small animals that consume algae. The algae and microinvertebrates found in the water column are called “phytoplankton” and “zooplankton,” respectively. Algae that grow attached to submerged structures such as rocks, docks, sediments or aquatic plants, are called “periphyton.”

About These Images

  • Most of the images of algae and microinvertebrates were collected from Lake Erie around the Bass Islands from 64-micron plankton nets, rock scrapes, and bottom grabs.
  • Most images are identified to the genus level. The ones that are not have an asterisk (*) beside their name and the correct level is listed in the taxon description.
  • The magnification power of most images is in the file name.

When using these images in print, digital media or online, please include a credit to “Ohio Sea Grant” and/or a link to our website at

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