These stunningly beautiful, extremely 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 in waters all around us and are of vital importance for all life on earth. Phytoplankton (small plant-like cells) produce half of all the oxygen on earth by photosynthesis like plants and trees do on land. Zooplankton forms the base of the food chain of aquatic life. Plankton also plays an important part in the global carbon cycle. They are currently threatened by climate change, global warming and the acidification of the oceans.
Jan van IJken photographed the plankton through microscopes, revealing the beauty and delicate structures of these minute organisms in the finest detail.
Jan van IJken is a filmmaker and photographer from Leiden, the Netherlands. He reveals the secrets of nature, microscopy, embryology and human-animal relations. He mainly works autonomously on long-term projects. As a photographer, he developed a strong eye for natural light, composition and detail.