Planktology is the study of plankton, various small drifting plants, animals and microorganisms that inhabit bodies of water. The field encompasses a variety of topics, including primary production and energy flow. The carbon cycle is a recent area of interest.
Plankton drive the "biological pump", a process by which the ocean ecosystem transports carbon from the surface euphotic zone to the ocean's depths. Such processes are vital to carbon dioxide sinks, one of several possibilities for countering global warming. Modern planktology includes behavioral aspects of drifting organisms, engaging modern in situ imaging devices.