Scattered through the seas of the world are billions of tons of small plants and animals called plankton. Most of these plants and animals are too small for the human eye to see. They drift about lazily with the currents, providing a basic food for many larger animals. Plankton has been described as the equivalent of the grasses that grow on the dry land continents, and the comparison is an appropriate one. In potential food value however, plankton far outweighs that of the land grasses. One scientist has estimated that while grasses of the world produce about 49 billion tons of valuable carbohydrates each year. The sea’s plankton generates more than twice as much.
Despite its enormous food potential, little effort was made until recently to farm plankton as we farm grasses on land. Now marine scientists have at last begun to study this possibility, especially as the sea’s resources loom even more important as a means of feeding an expanding world population.
No one yet has seriously suggested that “planktonburgers” may soon become popular around the world. As a possible farmed supplementary food source, however, plankton is gaining considerable interest among marine scientists.
One type of plankton that seems to have great harvest possibilities is a tiny shrimplike creature called krill. Growing to two or three inches long, krill provide the major food for the giant blue whale, the largest animal ever to inhabit the Earth. Realizing that this whale may grow 100 feet and weigh 150 tons at maturity, it is not surprising that each one devours more than one ton of krill daily.
Krill swim about just below the surface in huge schools sometimes miles wide, mainly in the cold Antarctic. Because of their pink color, they often appear as a solid reddish mass when viewed from a ship or from the air. Krill are very high in food value. A pound of these crustaceans contains about 460 calories—about the same as shrimp or lobster, to which they are related.
If the krill can feed such huge creatures as whales, many scientists reason, they must certainly be contenders as new food source for humans.
1. Which of the following best portrays the organization of the passage?
A. The author presents the advantages and disadvantages of plankton as a food source.
B. The author quotes public opinion to support the argument for farming plankton.
C. The author classifies the different food sources according to amount of carbohydrate.
D. The author makes a general statement about plankton as a food source and then moves to a specific example.
2. According to the passage, why is plankton regarded to be more valuable than land grasses?
A. It is easier to cultivate.
B. It produces more carbohydrates.
C. It does not require soil.
D. It is more palatable.
3. Why does the author mention “planktonburgers”?
A. To describe the appearance of one type of plankton.
B. To illustrate how much plankton a whale consumes.
C. To suggest plankton as a possible food sources.
D. To compare the food values of beef and plankton.
4. What is mentioned as one conspicuous feature of krill?
A. They are the smallest marine animals.
B. They are pink in color.
C. They are similar in size to lobsters.
D. They have grass like bodies.
5. The author mentions all of the following as reasons why plankton could be considered a human food source except that it is ___.
A. high in food value.
B. in abundant supply in the oceans.
C. an appropriate food for other animals.
D. free of chemicals and pollutants.