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“Detritus” refers  to particulate matter derived from decayed organic matter, often occurring in microscopic clumps or clusters.  In aquatic systems detritus includes mainly  the bacteria (dead or alive), protists , invertebrates and aquatic fungi held together with extracellular mucopolysaccharides.  Aquatic detrital particles slowly settle out of the water column onto bottom sediments (or are flushed downstream).  While suspended they are frequently found in plankton net collections.

“Marine snow” is another term for detritus used in marine studies.