As we all know, theres so much species which live in ocean ecosystem, and some of them classified into carnivores, herbivores, or producers. What exactly make them different? This time, we gonna talk about producers in the ocean ecosystems, especially three kinds of them: phytoplanktons, algae, and coral reefs; about what they look like, how they live, and what benefit we get from them.
Also known as micro algae, its a plant which needs sunlight to live and grown, and contain chlorophyll to do photosyntestic. Most phytoplanktons are mild one and float upper part in the ocean, so they can get the sunlight easily.
Like land plants, phytoplankton will take up carbonidoxide, make carbohydrates with use light energy, and release oxygen. Because they need lot lights, phytoplankton live near surface so the photosyntesis can occur easily.
Phytoplankton only live 200-300 meters deep feet, and the deepest only about 4,000 meters. Sunlight isnt one thing which phytoplankton neeeds, but also phosphates, sulfur, and nitrates which they will convert into protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Phytoplankton usually blooms every spring, when sunlight easily penetrates water and provides energy for phytoplankton population to grow. Some factors which affect the growth of phytoplankton are water temperatures and its salinity, water depth, wind, and kind of predator which live in that areas. Some phytoplankton also can fix nitrogen and lives in are which lack of nitrate concentrations. Phytoplankton also divided into some groups because there are 5,000 known species of phytoplankton and some of them are diatoms, cyanobacteria, and dinoflargellates.
Phytoplankton become important producers in the sea because can transform inorganic carbon in the atmosphere into organic compounds. It also provide almost all earth’s oxygen and supply food for marine ecosystems. Its estimated between 50-85% of the world’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton. Another species who get food from pyhtoplankton are jelly fish, snails, shrimps, and whales. But whenever too many nutrients are being produced by phytoplankton, it can be a bad one and become harmful to the ecosystems. Why harmful? Yea because it would turn into toxic for fish, shellfish, mammals, bird, and even people.
Phytoplanktons also unique one because can reproduce by itself, so the ocean ecosystems wont lack of food. How can phytoplankton reproduce themselves in their own way? Based on some research, phytoplankton has some molecules which five times smaller than a red blood cells and thats make phytoplankton able to penetrate and nourish cell by it own way. Phytoplankton also not depends on the digestive system for processing and thats why they become bioavailable source of nurients.
Why phytoplankton has lot benefits for our life? Of course the answer is because phytoplankton contain some incredible nutrients like: omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, amino acids, vitamins, mineral, anti-oxidant, carotenor, phytonutrients, phytocemicals, trace mineral, and chlorophyll. Phytoplankton also has benefits for humans life, especially for humans health, such as:
- Immune systems
Phytoplankton is known has some immune system enhancers, like: alanine, beta-carotene, bio-flavonoids, and vitamin E. Phytoplankton can increase our metabolism so can protect us from some diseases, for cold diseases until serious one. Phytoplankton has high measurements of CD3 in bloods, which can make immune can kills some viruses and bacteria.
- Supports our natural detox systems: Consume phytoplankton to our diet also give benefits for us, which to cleanse organs in our body, especially liver.
- Supports our heart health: Marine phytoplankton has high level of anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids which can support our heart healths with decreasin blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of stroke and heart diseases. There is another nutrients, and its L-arginiene which has function to increase blood flows to the river where flow was once restricted.
- Pain relief: Phytoplankton is effective to reducing inflammation and irritations, and also can reduce paons because arthritis, pain, or muscle stiffness.
- Great for our eyes: Phytoplankton has beta-carotene which protect our cornea and also can improve our vision.
- Reduce symptoms of ashtma: Phytoplankton not only has benefits to supply oxygen for the world, but also supports our respiratory health. Some research said it can be eliminate ashtma symptoms and clean the airways.
- Support healthy cholesterol levels: High cholesterol is another serious diseases which usually attacked people, beside cardiovascular diseases and also can causes death for some people. Phytoplankton has some nutrients who can reduce high cholesterol levels, and they are: niacin, gamma linolenic acid, and omega 3 fatty acid.
- Improve mental healthiness: Some nutrients in phytoplankton are known can help our mental healthiness beacuse the omega 3 fatty acids, nucleic acids, phenylalanine, proline, and magnesium.
Algae is plant which has various range, from small (micro algae) to large one (macro algae) which the length can reach until 100 feet. Most algae grow through photosynthesis, with the following process is catching the sunlights, CO2, nitrogen, and also phosporus. What make algae different from another creatures is: algae doesnt have true roots, steams, leaves, or any vascular tissued and only have simple reproductive structures.
Chlorophyll is part of algae and make algae can make food by itself through photosynthesis, and of course need sunlight in this process. Other algae can grow in dark place, and will use sugar or scratch to survive, and this fase called as heterotrophic.
The large algae also can be used for shelter and habitats for small fish and some intervebrate animals. Micro algae also can divide into various type again, which are depends on the color like: red, brown, or green blue algae. Color of algae depends on the various pigments, and they are chlorophyll, carotenoids, and also phycobiliproteins. When algae dead, its still has function to another animals because it can be eaten by another orgasm, and its called as decomposers.
When decomposers eat this dead algae, they will steal algae’s minerals so it can be used as source of food for another animals, such as: worm, snails, and clams. Algae has important roles in ocean systems, which are supplying food for some ocean creatures and producing 70% air that we breathe. Algae can also produce 30-50 percents oxygen for global needs, which means algae supply it for human and animals life. Like phytoplanktons, algae also big source of food for many ocean creatures, like: seals, fishes, turtles, shrimps, lobster, clams, octopuses, sea stars, and worm.
Algae are also has economically benefits for our life, because it can as source of crude oil, resource of food, and also for pharmaceutical and industrial products for human. Because algae give lot benefits for us, some factories are already used algae too for reproduce oil and use that as source of fuel. Algae can be reproduce effectively when theyre place in high-salinity water.
Sometimes, algae can be overabundance and it can affect ocean ecosystems, and this phase known as algal blooms. What happen when this occur? Algae will produce lot of toxic, which can dangered lot species in the oceans ecosystems, and worse can make them dead. Algal blooms also can poisoned water too, so human cant consume or take that water. Eutropication is another results from alga blooms, which caused by the addiction of excess nutrients to the water and encourage algae to grow abundantly. When algae die and sink in the bottom, it will causes another damage, and that is fishes and another animals will lack of oxygen and cant survive.
Algae not only can be used and has lot benefits for another species in ocean ecosystems, but also has lot benefits in humans life, especially in industrial products. Brown and red algae are most common used in this thing, and of course they have some special benefits. Brown sea weeds has different benefits for humans, because they acts a thickening agents and as stabilizers in industrial preparation on foods and pharmaceutical drugs. Brown algae can be make into some products, which are:
Agar is sea weed product which prepared from red algae and used for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and also can be cooked into jellied dishes, stew, or soups.
Another products from algae, its like an agar and has high red algae and can be used for stabilizers in paints, pharmaceuticals, and ice creams.
Algae has some benefits for humans life, because it has high vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, also proteints. Algae is formed as capsule, tablet or powder, and also can be algal oil. Not only consume as food, algae can be good treatments too for some diseases and problems, which are:
- Heart health
A scientific review published in 2013 confirm that blue-green algae can protect against cardiovascular diseases and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Blue-green algae already proved as effective natural product for improving bloods also preventing inflammation and oxidation stress, which they are two biggest factors can caused heart diseases. Algae can be treatment for this problems because what they have inside them, such as: carotenoids, GLA, phycocanins, fibers, and plant sterols.
- Inflammation and pain reducer
Have high omega-3 fatty acids and cholorophyll make algae as effective refucer for inflammation and pain.
- Decrease cholesterol
In general, algae has high phytosterols, which the function is for decrease cholesterol naturally and reduce blood cholesterol levels, especially decreasing LDL cholesterol.
Thats common benefit from algae which can we get whenever we consume it. But do you know if brown and blue-green algae give us special benefits, and its different from another algae? So check it out!
- Brown algae
Brown algae has some specific benefits for our life, such as for weight loss, and heal some diseases like: cancer, arthritis, heart diseases, and another serious diseases.
- Blue-green algae
Blue-green algae has high concentrations of nutrients, and it can be used to boost our energy in days. Its also can be treatments for fatigue, anxiety, stress, diabetes, weight loss, or pre menstruation. Another benefit from this algae is can improve our memory and over all digestive health. What make blue-green algae has more benefits than another type? Its because blue-green algae has unique properties, such as: anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-alergic, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant.
Coral reefs is most diverse of all marine ecosystems, which cover less than 1% earth’s surface and less than 2% of ocean bottoms and also often called as rain forest of the sea. So much animals are depending their life in coral reefs, some for food and some for another reasons. Coral reefs not only give lot benefits for another animal, but also to humans life. Really? What coral reefs exactly do to our life? Coral reefs value has been estimated at 30 billion US dollars an can gain 172 billion US dollar every years.
Corals are belong to sea amones and has simple structure too, called as polyp. Polyp is like tin can open at just one end, and in the end has mouth that surrounded by tentacles. That tentacles allow corals to eats small organism around them as food, called as zooxantahellae. Corals has multiple reproductive strategies, and they can be female, male, or both. This reproductions has different goals, which asexual for increasing size of the colony, and asexual for increases genetic diversity and start new colonies.
The size of coral polyps within a reef is very small, usually less than half inch in diameter, and the largest can be more than 5 inches, which usually can be found in mushrooms corals. Because coral live in colony, their size usually is big one, can be size of small car or can be covered whole reef. However, corals really need time to grow up, and they grow really slowly. Fastest coral expand is only about 6 inches per year, but another coral can be grow less than inches each year too. and you have to know, the largest coral reefs is located in Great Barrier Reefs, Australia which the spans can reach until 1,600 miles and its already growing since 20,000 years ago.
Coral reefs can be found in the world wide oceans, but reef building corals usually can be found in shallow tropical and sub-tropical areas because the need sunlight to do photosynthesis and they prefer temperatures between 22-29o C. There is also deep-sea corals, which we can found up to 20,000 feets and this coral doesnt have same algae and need sunlight to survive, instead they live slower and grow very slowly.
Biodiversity of corals of course has lot benefits for us, and lets start it with their benefits to medicine. Coral reefs already known can be use as effective treatments for cancer and HIV, and also for asthma, arthritis, human bacterial infections, heart diseases, viruses, etc. Coral reefs also can assist carbon dioxide and nitrogen fixing, and it will give us a healthy clear oxygen with their help recycling nutrients. Unfortunately, there are some factors which can harm and destroyed this coral reefs and make them as endangered one; which means it also can destroyed ocean ecosystems.There are some factors which coral reefs become danger caused by human:
- Over fishing
Its one of the biggest factor which make coral reefs become danger, and will affect ecological balance of coral reefs communities. Beside over fishing, some people also do destructive fishing practices, such as: dynamite fishing, bottom trawling, and cyanide fishing.
- Careless tourism
Some of tourist who came to see the enchanted of coral reefs also can make coral reefs danger because people usually touching and collecting corals, and drop some garbage on the reefs.
Urban and industrial waste, agrochemicals, oil pollution can poisoning reefs. Why? Because that pollutants will increase the niargens in sea water and causes over growth algae, so coral reefs don’t have enough sunlight to survive.
Erotion which caused by any constructions, minings, logings, and farmings will increased amount of sediments in the river and will covered the sunlight.
- Over exploitation
Over exploitation can causes coral into endangered one too because corals usually harvested and selled as souvenirs.
- Climate change
Corals cant survive in area which the temperature is too high, and those temperatures also can increase coral bleaching. Coral bleaching usually occurs when coral reefs getting stressed.
To protect coral reefs effectively, some countries in worldwide are build some conservation to protect coral reefs to become endangered one. For example, theres natural park of the coral sea, located in New Caledonia, France. Its not only conservation for protect coral reefs, but also shark, whales, and turtles. This park also known as world’s largest lagoons at 24,000 squares kilometers and has longest coral reefs at 1,600 kilometers. This park also increasing pelagic fish, about 3,000 each years and become important food source for oceans ecosystems.
After we know whats benefit we got from ocean producers, now its our responsibility to protet them so they wont become endangered one, or worse; become instinct. Are you ready to make a change so ocean ecosystem to keep healthy, or become better? Start the change from yourself!