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15 Importance of Nitrogen in Marine Environment

by Fitri Bukhairah

Nitrogen is a chemical element which can be found on the earth. It is symbolized with N and has atomic number 7. Nitrogen fills more than 78% gas throughout the earth. Nitrogen includes various chemical forms, they are ammonium, nitrate, nitrite, and nitrogen gas.

Nitrogen is an element that is not reactive (difficult to react with other elements) so that in the use of nitrogen in living things required various processes, namely: fixation of nitrogen, mineralization, nitrification, denitrification.

The existence of nitrogen is not aimlessly. Nitrogen brings the benefit and importance as well as the oxygen and the other elements. The importance of nitrogen includes many aspects in this life, one of them is in the marine environment.

Well, the main topic today regarding the importance of nitrogen in the marine environment. To understand how nitrogen is used, a basic understanding of the marine nitrogen cycle is necessary. The processes of the nitrogen cycle transform nitrogen from one form to another with the help of microorganisms such as microbes, bacteria, and etc.

So what’s the importance of nitrogen in marine environment? Let’s check the discussion as follows:

1.  Part of Biochemical Cycle

Nitrogen takes a part in the process of biochemistry cycle. It is known as the nitrogen cycle. As what has been explained before that in order to use the nitrogen in the environment, the nitrogen cycle is necessary. The nitrogen cycle is the transformation of nitrogen from one form to another.

As one of the biochemical cycle, nitrogen cycle functions to enable the utilization of matter in a form specific to particular organisms.

2. Help the metabolism of the marine organism

Nitrogen helps the metabolism of the marine organism such as phytoplankton. Phytoplankton uses a large variety of nitrogen compounds and is extremely well adapted to fluctuating environmental conditions with a high capacity to change their chemical composition.

3. Used to photosynthesis

Nitrogen becomes one of the important element needed by the marine microorganisms to photosynthesis. As known that the marine microorganisms need photosynthesis in order to produce their own food. Read more about the importance of marine microorganisms.

Nitrogen provides the chlorophyll that is needed for photosynthesis. The nitrite salts are important as minerals assimilated by green plants to regulate the amino acids back in their bodies, to form the protoplasm and then depend on the nitrites, the phytoplankton subsequently feeding the higher organisms.

4. Source of Nutrients

Nitrogen is a fundamental requirement for all organisms because nitrogen elements are the source of nutrients needed by the marine organisms.

The element of nitrogen and phosphorus in the waters serves as a nutrient for the biota in it. Within certain limits of concentration appropriate for biotic purposes, the presence of nutritional elements is not problematic, but if the concentration is abundant it will cause eutrophication that causes the nutrient elements to change its function. Read more about the importance of nutrients in the ocean.

5. Source of food

The nitrogen present in the protein molecules in the dead organism will be broken down into inorganic nitrogen forms. This chemical process is carried out by a series of decomposing organisms, especially nitrate-forming bacteria, the result of which is nitric nutrient which is a form of ready-made inorganic nitrogen.

Consumers are green plants found in seawater such as plankton and algae. Then, plankton and algae will be consumed by the high degree marine organisms.

6. Assist in the functioning  of the marine ecosystem 

Nitrogen can assist the marine ecosystem by linking the living organisms with non-living organisms. This is because all organisms depend on one another both biotic and abiotic in the marine ecosystem endangered by the nitrogen cycles. Read also the importance of ocean conservation.

7. Maintain the productivity of marine organism

As the source of nutrients, nitrogen is able to maintain the productivity of marine organisms. This relates to the ability of algae as the agents of primary productivity, both in terms of biomass and in their contribution of photosynthetically reduced carbon in pelagic water. Read more about the ecological importance of marine organisms.

8. Source of protein

Nitrate that has been absorbed by the roots of the plant, then nitrogen will be synthesized into plant protein, then the herbivores will eat the plant then turn the plant protein into animal protein.

9. Source of Energy

The process of protein to nitrate through the nitrification is able to produce the energy for decomposer marine organisms. The opposite step from nitrates to proteins requires energy from other sources, such as from organic materials or sunlight. Part of the nitrate derived from the fixation and decomposition is dissolved groundwater and transferred or exported to other ecosystems, or lost may be a precipitate.

 10. Assists the marine microorganisms decomposer

Nitrogen assists the marine microorganisms decomposers. Decomposers are organisms that feed on dead organisms and waste products from other organisms. The importance of decomposers in the ocean helps the nutrient cycle back into the ecosystem such as carbon, water, and nitrogen are returned to the ecosystem through decomposition action.

11. Contribute to form the oxygen

The process of converting nitrogen into the organic matter can only be done by certain prokaryotic microorganisms that have the ability to fix nitrogen to ammonia. The ammonium in the form of ammonium is utilized by aquatic plants with the assimilation process, which will then contribute the oxygen in the process of photosynthesis.

12. Accelerate the growth of the marine organism

Nitrates are nutrients needed by plants to grow and develop. The levels of nitrogen in the water can stimulate the growth of algae. That’s why the nitrates are used to be utilized as the fertilizer material. Read further about the importance of algae in the ocean.


Besides the importance of nitrogen in marine environment, nitrogen also brings the benefit of our life as follows:

  • Fertilize the land.
  • Material for the manufacture of dyes and explosives.
  • as a refrigerant; used for freezing and cooling.

Well, those all about the importance of nitrogen in marine environment that you need to know. Hopefully, it will be useful to all of you. Thanks for reading guys 🙂

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