Source: Noora Al-Meer, Flicker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/makkorani/3597167191/in/photostream/)

Little Critters that tell a BIG Story: Benthic Foraminifera and the Gulf Oil Spill

You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that produce a hard shell. These shells look like the shells you might pick up on the beach, but they are much smaller—most are between 0.05 and 0.5 mm (about the size of a pencil tip). Forams are important organisms in their own right. They eat decomposing plants and animals, turning them into useful minerals. Forams are also a source of food for many worms, crustaceans, snails, echinoderms (like sea urchins and starfish), and fish.

Source: Noora Al-Meer, Flicker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/makkorani/3597167191/in/photostream/)

Source: Noora Al-Meer, Flicker (http://www.flickr.com/photos/makkorani/3597167191/in/photostream/)

Read more at the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean Portal Ocean Blog: Story Link