Volunteers answer the question: What’s in the water?

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OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — What lives in the water, is smaller than the head of a needle, and provides the earth with half of its oxygen?

If you didn’t know the answer was plankton, volunteers at the Museum of Coastal Carolina have your back.

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They spent this Saturday educating museum goers about the wonders of one of the smallest creatures in the ocean, in their event called, “What’s in the water?”

Visitors learned about the largest daily migration of animals in the world happens in the ocean, when phytoplankton (the plant species) migrate away from the surface as the sun sets, and zooplankton (the animal species) migrates up to eat it.

Long time science educator, Allison Smith said it’s always a treat to teach families about the rich environments that surround them.

“We know that oxygen comes from trees,” Smith explained. “That’s taught pretty readily but we tend to overlook the photosynthesis process in plankton. And they say about 50 percent of the world’s oxygen comes from that, so every other breath you take, you can thank the ocean.”

Visitors could look through the microscopes at live plankton and other microspecies, learning about what lies beneath the water’s surface.