|Hello, I am starting a science project and I am
interested in algae. I had one question though,
what do algae do that is beneficial to marine
life or the enviornment? Thank you, I look
forward to hearing from you.
|Question Date: 2008-03-06|
Algae are simply aquatic plants that lack a
vascular system and thus obtain their nutrients
directly from the water as opposed to the soil.
Algae can live in freshwater or salty water. Some
algae are microscopic and others are large. Common
examples include pond scum, kelp, and red tides.
Algae are critical to life on earth as they form
the basis for many food chains and they produce
oxygen. Because algae are so abundant on Earth,
much of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from
algae. One fun example of beneficial algae is the
commercial food industry that sells algae in the
form of drinks or powders. Algae also create
habitat for animals ranging from freshwater fish
(e.g. mats of rooted algae in rivers) to otters
(e.g. kelp forests in the ocean). Algae in and of
themselves are good guys, its just that excessive
amounts can create problems either by depleting
oxygen while they decompose or by the neurotoxins
that are harmful to humans and animals that some
algae produce. One more fun fact is that if we
ever get to the point of terra forming another
planet, we will need to introduce algae to create
the oxygen atmosphere.
1. The base of the food chain in
almost all aquatic ecosystems: everything living
in the water either eats algae or eats something
that eats algae.
2. Most of the Earth's oxygen
is produced by algae.
3. Algae produce the
structure of a number of aquatic ecosystems (e.g.
4. Algae maintain the chemical
balance of the atmosphere by precipitating a
number of gasses, carbon dioxide in particular,
and turning it into stone.
life as we know it would not exist without
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