Marine phytoplankton is often nicknamed as the grass that lies in the ocean. Despite how tiny phytoplankton could be, the ocean would be doomed without it.
There are a lot of things that marine phytoplankton do including maintaining the health of the ocean, provide marine organisms with food and so on. To know more about it, these 15 Importance of Marine Phytoplankton could give you more insight. See how much humans and marine organisms depend on on the phytoplankton.
1. Source of Marine Food
Phytoplankton is the main source of food for many marine organisms. For instance, whales like to feed on a group of krills and also phytoplankton. Fish and jellyfish are also known to consume it. Without phytoplankton, many marine creatures would lose a food source that they crucially need.
2. Base for Food Chain
Without the marine phytoplankton, the food chain will not be functioning properly. It would be missing one of its most important producers. Disrupted food chain can cause a shortage of food for marine organisms. It will make it difficult for them to provide their bodies with the right nutrient. Thus, it could mess up their survival rate.
Read more: Importance of Marine Food Chain
3. Supply Larvae Fish with Nutrients
Larvae fish is a type of zooplankton that relies on marine phytoplankton to stay alive. As the fish is growing into an adult, phytoplankton will help them to grow. Without this source of food, their survival chances are low. That could lead to a decline of the fish population.
4. Used for Studying Past Condition of the Earth
A diatom is a species of a marine phytoplankton. It’s especially useful in studying the condition of the oceans in the world. Scientists are able to make research about what oceans were like in the past. This could lead to study the whole structure of the earth since scientists have something that they could use for comparisons.
Also read: Importance of Marine Microbiology
5. Improves Sand Quality
Apparently, diatom is also good for the ocean floor. It contributes to the formation of sand that lies on the bottom of the ocean. There is silica in diatom. When diatom dies, their components will dissolve into the sand on the ocean floor. The sand quality will become higher which means the sea floor would be in better condition.
On a daily basis, photosynthesis happens in the ocean too. Most plants that carry out this process are often nearby the surface of the water such as the marine phytoplankton. It is actually one of the biggest contributor to photosynthesis in the ocean. Through this, phytoplankton is able to serve as food and provide oxygen to the ocean.
Read more: Process of Photosynthesis in the Ocean
7. Provides Oxygen
Phytoplankton provides oxygen to the ocean through photosynthesis. This oxygen also contributes a high percentage to the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to all the trees, shrubs and other plants on land, phytoplankton gives off a lot of oxygen too. Without phytoplankton, humans would probably be facing with a depleted level of oxygen that is so crucial to life.
8. Provides Extra Food
During photosynthesis, sometimes phytoplankton can produce excess energy. The nutrients they create can serve as extra food for many marine organisms. This ensure that no marine creatures can run out of food as there is always available to them.
Also see: Importance of Nutrients in the Ocean
9. Medicinal Purposes
Phytoplankton can be used for medicines that help to cure diseases. For example, phytoplankton has been used for medicine research in hope to cure cancer. As far as research has shown, a type of phytoplankton has been found to contain the right component to kill of cancer cells. This phytoplankton is called dinoflagellates.
10. Keep the Ocean Healthy
A healthy ocean maintains the overall wellbeing of the earth too. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of the ocean’s health. Phytoplankton plays a part in keeping it functioning normally. It provides the basic foundation of life for many marine creatures that keep the ecosystem working. Without phytoplankton, the condition of the ocean would decline. That would create a bad effect to everything on earth.
11. Affect the World’s Climate
As marine phytoplankton gives off oxygen to the world, it is able to have an effect on climate. It maintains any current climate that often occurs over an area. Marine phytoplankton keeps the ocean healthy which can slow down the process of global warming. Global warming has the potential to kill off the ocean.
See also: Effects of El Nino in Pacific Ocean
12. See Changes in Ocean Water Temperature
It’s crucial for scientists to know any temperature changes in the ocean. Certain plants and animals cannot survive water that is either too hot or too cold. Phytoplankton, especially, can only grow when the water temperature is right. So, in case scientists notice any reduction in phytoplankton growth, they can use it to study the water temperature.
13. Study Quality of Water
Besides using marine phytoplankton to study the temperature of the ocean, it can also be used to observe the water quality. A main concern is the ever increasing process of acidification that can be deadly to the ecosystem. Scientists can study water quality by knowing the amount of healthy phytoplankton produced in the ocean.
14. Keep Healthy Population of Zooplankton
Though zooplankton may be tiny, they sure bring great impacts to the food chain. They are the first consumers of phytoplankton. With that, the food chain starts to move. Other bigger animals would then feed on the zooplankton. Without the marine phytoplankton, there could be a scarce source of zooplankton.
15. Supplement for Humans
Humans can put marine phytoplankton into good use. It is often turned into supplements that bring many benefit. It can improve the healthy or help the body in the process of detox. The supplement is also able to build a stronger immunity system for the body.
Ensuring that phytoplankton can grow in healthy amount is a must. Without marine phytoplankton, the world would face great, irreversible danger.