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Dinoflagellates Dinoflagellates differ from other phytoplankton in that they have characteristics of both plants and animals.  Whereas most other phytoplankton lack the ability to move, dinoflagellates have two flagella.  Flagella are whip-like appendages that the organism can control and use for locomotion.  This ability to move is distinctly characteristic of animals.  However, most dinoflagellates are also photosynthetic, a trait associated with plants.  For this reason, classification of these organisms has proved difficult.  Despite the fact that they are microscopic, some effects of dinoflagellates are very apparent.  In favorable conditions, populations of these organisms can grow very rapidly (a bloom).  In addition to poisoning fish and other aquatic life, the resulting "Red Tides" can actually change the color of the sea water.