Ecology And Environment

The Importance of Seaweed in Marine Ecology



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"The Importance of Seaweed in Marine Ecology"
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Seaweed provides food, protection and shelter to other marine creatures. It also cleans the sea by hosting many of the planktons and diatoms harming the environment. It prevents erosion of the cliffs. Seaweed is a part of the whole photosynthesis cycle. It is plant-like but classified as algae.

Food

Fish, diatoms and plankton eat its leaves and stems. Seaweed is at the bottom of the food chain. Without seaweed, many of these creatures would die, causing other larger marine animals to die. People also eat seaweed and the creatures that feed on it. Marine birds feed on the dislodged seaweed.

Protection

Many smaller marine creatures hide from predators among the seaweed’s leaves. Some live in the seaweed and wait for their prey to come along. The plant is a host for both predator and prey. Without seaweed, some marine creatures would be exposed to their enemies.

Shelter

Sea otters, urchins, and fish also find shelter within the seaweed. The seaweed is home to large and small creatures. Plankton and diatoms especially find shelter in the seaweed forests. Seaweed acts as a nursery for some creatures.

Cleaner

Seaweed removes gases from the marine environment by absorbing them into its leaves. Seas with many kelp forests are healthy and clean. Thus, the animals living in the environment also are healthy. Clean seas allow humans to enjoy the marine environment whether underwater or on the beach.

Prevents erosion

Large forests keep the sand and rocks from drifting away. Areas with seaweed are more stable than areas lacking seaweed. Seaweed can become diseased and float away if it encounters too much pollution. Strong storms can loosen holdfasts if the seaweed is not healthy.  Some of the algae are perennials and some annuals. The annual variety is the seaweed lying on the beach that people often see.

Photosynthesis

Seaweed gives off energy and receives it. The sunlight produces the green color of most seaweed. It absorbs other pigments so it can produce red, brown, gold, and blue colors. The energy it receives allows the seaweed to grow. Seaweed is not a true plant because it lacks roots. It does not need fluid to run through it due to living in the water.

Seaweed is important to the marine environment because it is a food source, a home source and a shelter. It uses carbon dioxide from the water, making it less toxic for swimmers. Large seaweed forests help to stabilize the surrounding area.  

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ARTICLE SOURCES AND CITATIONS
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://oceanlink.info/biodiversity/seaweeds/seaweeds.html
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/pugetsound/species/kelp.html