Plants & Algae

Plants and algae play important roles in the ocean ecosystem. Fast growing kelp (a type of algae) makes up forest-like communities and phytoplankton produce huge amounts of oxygen consumed by humans.



Seagrass and Seagrass Beds

Seagrasses are found in shallow salty and brackish waters in many parts of the world, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle...

Seagrasses and Light in the Chesapeake Bay

Seagrasses growing on the seafloor of the Chesapeake Bay rely on light to grow—but, thanks to pollution, that sunlight has become more scarce. Nutrient runoff from fertilizers causes microscopic algae (phytoplankton) to grow rapidly...
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With Every Breath You Take, Thank the Ocean

Kelps are large, brown algae that grow along coasts around the world, especially in cooler regions. Credit: George Cathcart By Kalila Morsink When was the last time you thought about your breathing? Take a...

Meet the obscure microbe that influences climate, ocean ecosystems, and perhaps even evolution

More than half of the oxygen you breathe comes from plants and algae in the ocean, like phytoplankton and seaweed, called marine photosynthesizers . Both use carbon dioxide, water and energy from the sun...
Juvenile plane-head filefish

A World Adrift: Life in the Sargassum

The open ocean is surprisingly barren to the naked eye. Every now and again you will encounter a school of fish and their attendant predators, but most of the life that you find is...