Elusive Algae: Only Ten Percent of Algae Species Have Been Discovered in World’s Oceans

Algae dominate the oceans that cover nearly three-quarters of our planet, and produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. And yet fewer than 10 percent of the algae have been formally described in the scientific literature.

Algae dominate the oceans that cover nearly three-quarters of our planet, and produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. And yet fewer than 10 percent of the algae have been formally described in the scientific literature, as noted in a new review co-authored by Carnegie’s Arthur Grossman in Trends in Plant Science.

Algae are everywhere. They are part of crusts on desert surfaces and form massive blooms in lakes and oceans. They range in size from tiny single-celled organisms to giant kelp.

Algae also play crucial roles in human life. People have eaten “seaweed” (large macroalgae) for millennia. But algae can also represent a health hazard when toxic blooms suffocate lakes and coastlines.

Despite the pervasiveness of algae and their importance in our planet’s ecology and in human health and nutrition, there is so much that scientists don’t know about them. This lack of knowledge is mostly due to limited support and the need to develop methodologies for probing the various algal groups at the molecular level.

Read Full Story: Phys.org/Carnegie Institution for Science

Photo: NOAA/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

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Comments
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brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

The ocean is filled with life. No ocean, no us.

brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

That algae produces half of the oxygen that we breathe is astounding.

tommy
tommy

I never knew that Algae are part of crusts on desert surface and cover nearly three-quarters of our planet. Wow!

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