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15 Importance of Algae in Ocean Ecosystems

by Fitri Bukhairah

Algae or also known alga (singular form) are the autotroph plant which has no organs.

The organ which is meant here is the organ as the other plants have, such as root, stem, and leaves. Algae are an aquatic plant so they are used to be found in moist soil and waters, either freshwater or seawater.

Furthermore, algae are included as the photosynthesis organisms which can produce their own food. That’s why they need the sunlight. In daily life, you may familiar with certain algae such as seaweeds including kelp and phytoplankton, pond scum, and also alga blooms in the lake.

Algae are classified based on their colours and sizes. According to their colours, types of algae divided into green, blue, brown, and red algae. Meanwhile, based on the sizes, algae range in sizes from microscopic species to giant kelps that can reach 60 meters length.

Algae bring importance roles which are beneficial in several aspects including:

1. Oxygen Supplier

The main contribution of Algae in our life is oxygen. Even it is known that algae supplies about half the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere. It is because algae are able to produce oxygen through the photosynthetic process by engaging the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the water where they lived. Read also function of the phytoplankton in ocean ecosystem

2. Source of Food for Marine Life

Besides algae can produce oxygen, algae also provide food which ensures the survival of the variety of marine lives and balances the cycle of chain food in the ocean. Algae that photosynthesize needs the sunlight as their source of energy. Then, during photosynthesis algae can produce a food for the other organisms in the ocean including small fishes.

3. Habitat for Marine Ecosystem

The community of algae can be the precise habitat for the marine ecosystem. They can encourage the breed of the marine animals and increase the population of marine ecosystem by providing the safe habitats. Read also importance of artificial coral reefs

4. Climate Change

Algae can influence the earth’s climate significantly. Algae are involved in the process of cycles of the rainfall. When cell tissues on the algae are damage, they will release a gas essential for the biogeochemical cycles of earth termed as DMSP (dimethylsulfoniopropionate). In the ocean, the DMSP will break down to form DMS (dimethyl sulfide).

Then, when DMS reaches the surface of the ocean and diffuses into the air, it will oxidize the as sulfate aerosols which behave as cloud nuclei. Eventually, when the water attaches to the nuclei, it will create rain on the earth below.

5. Stabilize the quality of Water in the Ocean

Algae can absorb and recycle the harmful substances that dissolve in the water and remove the metabolic by-products so that the quality of water, particularly in the ocean can be stabilized. Read also importance of marine grass

6. Maintaining the Survival of Larval fishes

Algae produce nutritions needed by larval fishes so that it can improve and maintain the growth of survival of larval fishes in the ocean. In addition, the algae may be given directly to the larvae along with the live food. Read more about importance of maintaining the ocean ecosystem

7. To Balance the Chain Food Cycle in the Ocean

Algae are able to produce their own food through photosynthesis which acts as the main producer in the ocean. Algae can balance the chain food cycle in the ocean.

8. Manage the Nutrients Dissolved in the Ocean

The ability of algae in the ocean is to absorb and recycle all the nutrients dissolved in seawater when performing photosynthesis in order to produce oxygen that needed either by the marine ecosystem or human life.

9. Waste Management

Algae can help to manage the waste that produces by the human. With algae, the process of management of waste in disposal can be done precisely and quickly.

10. Land Reclamation

The term of land reclamation refers to the action of expanding the land by utilizing that area which is initially useless. In order to do this, the most effective way is using algae. Algae have an important role especially after the rainy season, where the groups of algae such as green algae and blue algae will grow fertile. This process is very profitable because it will inhibit the soil erosion. Moreover, the nitrogen substance in blue algae known is able to maintain the fertility of soil or land.

11. Chlorophyll Source

Green algae have a high chlorophyll substance which indicates the fertility of marine. The presence of chlorophyll in algae can increase the supply food needed by marine animals in the ocean.

12. Source of Food for Human

Not only for marine life, algae also contribute the important role in human life. Organic substances contained in the certain algae are the source of the mineral, vitamin, and other high nutritional which are really good to be consumed. Furthermore, the algae can be consumed based on the choice and taste of people, they could be taken as the salad, eaten as a vegetable, and etc.

Algae have been used as food and beverage for many countries such as Japan, Scotland, New Zealand and many more.

13. Medicinal Uses

Algae, especially brown algae have bioactive compounds which are really beneficial to be used as medicinal uses in pharmaceutical industry. The capacity of brown algae is to strengthen the stomach, restore the appetite for sickness and also to treat constipation. Moreover, the substances contained in brown algae also can be utilized as blood anticoagulant, antihelmintic drug.

14. Beauty Product Material

Algae have been recently recognized that they contain natural beauty benefits that can be utilized as the beauty product material. The substances contained in algae can be able to soften and brightens the skin, fight inflammation, and can prevent ageing.

15. Fertilizer Material

The most suitable material of fertilizer for the farmer is algae, especially blue algae. It is because blue algae can fix the nitrogen in the atmosphere and enrich the soil. Blue algae bring an important role in fertilizing the soil, particularly in paddy fields.

Well, that’s all 15 importance of algae in the ocean. May it will be useful for all of you. Thanks for reading!

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