Algae in Water

Algae in Water

Algae in Water

Algae are found in natural waters in an impressive array of shapes, sizes, biochemical characteristics, and ecological roles.

Most algae are harmless and an important part of the natural ecosystem. Some types of algae are harmful to people and animals, and some can produce toxins which can cause serious illness. Where these harmful algae grow rapidly and accumulate in a water environment, it is known as a harmful algal bloom.

An algal bloom or algae bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems. It is often recognized by the discoloration in the water from the algae’s pigments.

Usually, Algal blooms are the result of a nutrient, like nitrogen or phosphorus from various sources (for example fertilizer runoff or other forms of nutrient pollution), entering the aquatic system. This causes excessive growth of algae. An algal bloom affects the whole ecosystem.

They constitute a group of life forms are unicellular or multicellular, mobile or immobile, of which practically all have photosynthetic pigments.

Since algae occur naturally in surface waters, they fall into the category of secondary pollutants. They can be beneficial to waters because they add oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, are significant in the self-purification processes and serve as food for certain aquatic fauna.

Algae require inorganic material such as phosphate, ammonia, nitrate and carbon dioxide which are then photosynthetically transformed into cellular organic materials and oxygen, the algae should be considered as producers, rather than destroyers of organic matter.

Algea classification is based upon the chemical composition of food storage substances, the cell wall and upon the quality of the pigments present.

The algae and the plant-like protists constitute the major segment of the aquatic pastures in lakes. The level in which radiant energy is fixed in protoplasm and then transferred to non-autotrophic organisms ranging from zooplankton to fish.

End of Basic Water Science

More about Algae…
Algae Growth Factors
Blue-green Algae
Green Algae
Yellow-Golden-brown Algae and Diatoms
Brown Algae
Red Algae
Significance of Algae

Next Topics…
Liverworts and Mosses
Vascular Plants

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Physical Water Quality
Chemical Water Quality
Biological Water Quality
Water Basics 101

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