Algae Facts

Algae Facts
Algae are large and diverse group of eukaryotic organisms that belong to the kingdom Protista. There are 72.500 species of algae that can be found all over the world. Most species live in the marine and freshwater ecosystems, while some can be found on the land. Certain algae are adapted to the life in extreme conditions: polar regions (they live on the snow) or boiling water (in the Yellowstone park). Depending on the species, algae can be free-floating or sessile organisms (spend their life attached to the substrate).
Interesting Algae Facts:
Algae can consist of only one or large number of cells. They can be microscopically small, or extremely large, nearly 200 feet long (kelp).
Even though some algae look like plants, they lack leaves, roots, stomata, phloem and xylem that are typical for vascular plants. Some algae have amoeba-like body and ability to actively hunt and kill the prey (like animals).
Algae play important role in the aquatic ecosystems. They serve as food for many fish and provide shelter for various animals.
Algae contain chlorophyll, photosynthetic pigment which facilitates absorption of light and manufacture of food in a process called photosynthesis (carbon dioxide and water are converted into sugar). Both aquatic and terrestrial animals use oxygen, eliminated as a by-product of photosynthesis, for breathing. Since ocean covers 71% of our planet, algae are responsible for the production of 87% of the oxygen on Earth.
Algae were responsible for killing of great number of early forms of life on the planet because of their inability to tolerate oxygen.
Red algae are important members of the coral reef. Some species of green algae and fungi form complex organisms called lichens.
Certain algae (called Dino-flagellate) produce light (phenomenon called bioluminescence) that is easily visible during the night. Large groups of algae produce enough light to ensure reading of the newspapers without any additional source of light.
Algae are used for the production of biofuel. They are also used as fertilizers and livestock feed.
Algae are often used to reduce emission of carbon dioxide in the power plants and to facilitate cleansing of the wastewater instead of harsh chemicals that were used for this purpose in the past.
Algae are used in human diet. Seaweeds are rich in vitamins and minerals and they represent important source of food in Asia.
Red algae are used in treatment of cold sores, urinary infections, asthma, stomach disorders and to boost immune system and lower blood cholesterol level.
Fossilized algae are used for the manufacture of dynamite.
Agar, gelatinous substance extracted from red algae is used as growth medium for bacteria and fungi in the labs.
Algae reproduce asexually via simple division or sexually via fusion of male and female gametes.
Algae can survive from few days to few years, depending on the species.

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