We all have seen green coloured, carpet-like layers, growing over plants, near taps, water tanks, ponds, rocks, and other moist places. They are the living, eukaryotic, and photosynthetic organisms, which are called Algae.
Algae are aquatic organisms that have the potential to conduct photosynthesis. Algal blooms, phytoplankton, and pond scum are some of the different types of algae found in nature.
What is Algae?
Algae are a diverse group of eukaryotic, photosynthetic life forms of kingdom Protista. These organisms exist in environments ranging from oceans, rivers, and lakes to ponds, brackish waters, and even snow. Usually, algae are green in colour, but they can also be found in a variety of different colours. Algae can be either unicellular or multicellular organisms, which lack a well-defined body structure, hence they are grouped into Thallophytes.
Algae are free-living, although some can form a symbiotic relationship with other organisms. The mode of reproduction in algae occurs in both asexual and sexual forms. There are three types of algae, which are mainly classified based on the presence of their pigments:
- Red Algae.
- Green Algae.
- Blue-green Algae.
Read More: Algae
Interesting Facts About Algae
Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms, which have the potential to conduct photosynthesis. They are neither plant, animal or fungi and vary in their size, which plays economical and beneficial roles in environments. There are a lot of interesting facts about algae, which are not known to everyone.
Let us have a look at a few of them.
Algae are mainly found in marine or freshwater environments. They play an important role in the ecosystem. Some species are used in the production of biofuels and some are also used as fertilizers and livestock feed.
Also Read: Fertilizers
A few species of algae are used in pharmaceutical industries for the production of medicines. There are many diseases which have been cured by algae. The Red algae are mainly used in treating asthma, cold sores, stomach disorders, urinary infections, and also helps in boosting the human immune system.
Algae are highly rich in vitamins and minerals and are an important source of food in different parts of Asia.
Like all green plants of Kingdom Plantae, Algae also contain chlorophyll pigments in their cells and manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis.
Dino-flagellate, certain species of algae produce bioluminescence that can be easily visible during night time. This emitted light is sufficient enough for a person to read the newspapers without any additional light source.
Microscopic algae or macrophytes are the species of algae, which are typically found growing on the freshwater and marine systems. They are usually found floating on the water, which multiplies rapidly, turning the water green or red and serves as the ultimate source of food for almost all marine life.
Algae are a major part of the aquatic ecosystem. They serve as food for many aquatic organisms and contribute to the aquatic food chain.
There are thousands of different kinds of algae found in different colours and forms. These eukaryotic and photosynthetic organisms are found everywhere on the planet, even in saltwater, in very low-temperature regions, on snow lands and ice crystals.
Also Read: Photosynthesis.
Different species of Algae are used in the human diet. Seaweeds also referred to as macroalgae are highly nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals and represent an important source of food in certain countries.
Algae are also used in many wastewater treatment plants, which reduce the carbon dioxide and other emissions in water by increasing the oxygen levels in the water bodies. Algae are also used in power plants by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and are being used as a replacement for harsh chemicals in the wastewater treatment.
Algae are used in many sewage water treatment plants and help in reducing the need for harmful chemicals and are used in some power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Along with the beneficial Algae species, there are some algae, which may cause harm to other living species. In some water bodies, these algae grow and reproduce a lot and cause algal blooms, which affects both fishes and other aquatic animals.
Also Read: Aquatic ecosystem
This article concludes an introduction to the algae and its amazing facts. To know more about algae, their types, general characteristics, how they are different from plants and other related topics, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.