Planktonium is a short film and photo project by Jan van IJken about the unseen world of living microscopic plankton. It is a voyage into a secret universe, inhabited by alien-like creatures. These stunningly beautiful, very diverse and numerous organisms are unknown to most of us because they are invisible to the naked eye. However, they are wandering beneath the surface of all waters around us and they are of vital importance for all life on earth.
Jan van IJken photographed the plankton through his microscopes, revealing the beauty and delicate structures of the minute organisms in the finest detail.
Phytoplankton (small plant-like cells) are producing half of all oxygen on earth by photosynthesis, like plants and trees do on land. Zooplankton (animal-like critters) are eating the phytoplankton, and are on the menu of larger animals in the water. So plankton is forming the base of the food chain of aquatic life. Plankton are also playing an important part in the global carbon cycle. The plankton are threatened by climate change, global warming and acidification of the oceans.
Produced with generous financial support of Gemeente Leiden and Stichting Oog op de Natuur.
Preview of some selected photos: