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The role of algae in world’s biosystem

The role of algae in world’s biosystem

Seaweeds constitute a vital part of natural resources still available to fight climate change since they can hold up to twice the carbon of tropical forests. This fact has been revealed by recent investigations conducted by several universities. The results of such studies reveal that a square kilometer of coastal algae beds is able to store more than 80,000 tons of the mentioned element.

How algae can provide an important support to environmental balance

As for marine ecosystems, seaweeds play a fundamental role since they are able to carry out the process of photosynthesis. They have been a fundamental component of the environment even before the emergence of other species. For instance, it is believed that the geological age of blue-green algae is about 3000 million years.

Additionally, it is worth remembering that it was the oxygen generated by the work of blue-green and eukaryotic algae that formed our atmosphere. Currently, seaweeds are responsible for more than 60% of the photosynthesis of the planet, a fact that places them in a crucial position for the maintenance of life on earth.

This heterogeneous group of organisms is divided into more than a dozen groups. This classification is mainly based on their pigment composition, their reserve materials and their structural details. There can be found microscopic varieties such as filamentous or laminar algae. On the other hand, there are complex multi-cellular species like brown seaweed which can reach a length of more than 18 meters.

The diversity of algae is also given by their biochemistry and physiology, as well as by the organization of their genetic material.

Probably, this varied genetic combination is responsible for their capacity to produce a large amount of biochemical and bio-active compounds that are sometimes useful for humanity. Such elements include fatty acids of the omega-3 type.

A variety that is attracting the interest of scientific community in Japan, is the species known as eugenics algae. This kind of small greenish microorganisms is capable of moving in the same way as animals. Hence, these are considered living beings with properties of both flora and fauna that can be classified alongside seaweeds such as konbu and wakame.

Eugenics algae stand out for their productivity since their cultivation only requires water. They have a high dietary content since they incorporate around 58 nutrients in total including vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Additionally, given their great capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, they can be quite useful to solve some environmental problems.

The importance of algae for the ecosystem

Algae play a fundamental role on the production of atmospheric oxygen exerting a great influence on diverse global processes such as climate change. On a regional scale, their ecological important becomes evident when the excess of nutrients in coastal or continental waters triggers an abundant reproduction of these organisms.

It is worth noting that the most notable coral reefs are composed of a large amount of algae. On the other hand, in coastal regions macro-algae are ecological vital elements that support the development of invertebrate communities by providing them shelter and food. They produce a great impact on the populations of marine organisms such as fishes and mollusks.