The Secret Life of Plankton
In this 6-minute video, scientists show what plankton look like -- when photographed through a microscope. Using the story of one fish's journey from egg to larva to dinner, the video focuses on truly beautiful microphotography and clear explanations of what life is like throughout the ocean. Put this one in HD and run it fullscreen.
Representative quote: "A teaspoon of seawater can contain over a million living creatures." Fun viewing tip: note how visually similar the night sky is to these bright, strange scenes of the sea.
The only bummer here is Kirk Lombard's mispronunciation of "anemone." Oh well, he's playing a fish, so maybe it's supposed to be colloquial.
Update (25 April 2012): this post originally credited Thierney Thys as the only author of the video, per its YouTube description. The creators wrote to me with expanded credits, listed below:
New videography techniques have opened up the oceans' microscopic ecosystem, revealing it to be both mesmerizingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. Marine biologist Tierney Thys teamed with Christian Sardet (CNRS/Tara Oceans), Noé Sardet and Sharif Mirshak to use footage from the Plankton Chronicles project to create a film designed to ignite wonder and curiosity about this hidden world that underpins our own food chain.
This video is inspired by the larger Plankton Chronicles documentary series; check out the site for more excellent videos!