Polychaeta. (Photo courtesy of Tara Oceans.)

The Tara Oceans is a 118-foot research ship that collects ocean zooplankton and phytoplankton — microscopic marine organisms that we often know nothing about. These tiny critters have a crucial place at the bottom of the food chain, but global warming is killing them off at a rate of 1 percent per year. The Tara Oceans wants to chronicle these often-unstudied species before they’re lost — because they’re important, because they’re rare and mysterious, and also because they’re SO WEIRD.

Copepod. (Photo courtesy of Tara Oceans.)
Barnacle. (Photo courtesy of Tara Oceans.)

Planet magazine has way more pics in their gallery here.