Research Paper on Algae
When humans breathe, they don’t think about where the oxygen they take in come from or the process behind the supply of oxygen in the air they breathe. But when you ask them what they think is responsible for the production of oxygen in our atmosphere, most would give credit to the trees and plants on land which give out oxygen as a by product of the photosynthetic process. Only a few would think about algae when it comes to oxygen production. In the write up Green Algae, the term algae is used to collectively refer to a wide range of very simple photosynthetic organisms. Despite their size, algae have a big impact on the planet. They have several uses biologically and economically.
The main biological importance of algae is their capability to photosynthesize despite the fact that they lack true roots, stems and leaves. Algae is a big part of the phytoplankton in the aquatic habitats. With the earth being covered mostly by water bodies, the oxygen produced by plants on land alone cannot sustain the world’s demand for it. Fortunately, the oceans and other aquatic habitats are filled with algae which contribute an estimated net of 30 to 50% oxygen in the atmosphere. According to Borenstein in the article Plankton, base of ocean food web in big decline, Plant plankton (algae), some of it visible, some microscopic help keep Earth cool by taking in carbon dioxide, the key greenhouse gas, out of the air to keep the world from getting even warmer. Furthermore, being producers, algae serve as the primary food for marine life and also help build coral reefs.
Algae is economically important to man because it has many uses. Algae is also food to man, its multicellular members commonly known as seaweeds is part of daily consumption especially in the Far East. Seaweeds can also be utilized as fertilizers. Agar and Caregeenan, gelatinous substances used in a wide array of products from ice cream to baked products to laxatives to dental impressions among many others, are derived from seaweed. Crude oil and natural gas is also derived from algae remnants. Skeleton from one group of algae called diatoms are glass-like and form the diatomaceous earth which has many industrial uses such as in filtration.
Albeit their simple form, algae play an important role in the Earth’s environment. Such resource should be given importance and should be considered in drafting preservation and conservation policies not only because they are economically significant to man but because the oxygen supply of our world and the life of marine and fresh water species rely on their capabilities.