The marine biome is characterized by several varieties of fish and plants. The kind of plants found underwater are different from those found on the land. Delving into the details of their adaptations and mechanisms will give you a better understanding of how they survive, even at great sea depths.
Note: In a broader sense, algae and phytoplanktons are called plants, where botanically they are protists and do not belong to the kingdom Plantae. The following article consists of photosynthetic eukaryotes - plants, algae, and phytoplanktons.
This is a group of algae that belong to the kingdom Plantae, and include the sub groups Chlorophyta and Charophyta. Green algae are small unicellular organisms containing chlorophyll that give them a bright green color. While chlorophyta are found in a variety of habitats, charophyta are found exclusively in freshwater, and in conditions where the presence of salt is less than one percent. Green algae are the most diversely found species of algae.
Seagrass is a flowering seaweed that grows in saline water. They grow over a large area similar to that of grasslands, and are found predominantly in shallower, coastal waters. The number of species vary with the type of climate; tropical waters show the presence of several species of seagrass beds (up to 13 recorded species), whereas as in temperate waters, a maximum of 2 - 3 species is observed. Aquatic fauna such as dugongs, green turtles, sea urchins, swans, and crabs, feed on seagrass.
These are the most commonly found phytoplankton, and are single-celled with walls made of silica. Occurring in both freshwater and seawater, the reproduction of diatoms takes place by two halves splitting where each half develops a new valve, forming a new diatom.
Two types of diatoms
Diatoms are further divided into - Centric diatoms and Pennate diatoms. Of the two, locomotion is carried out only by the centric diatoms (only the male gametes) with the help of flagella. Sometimes, dead diatoms are safely preserved in seabed, thus becoming key organisms in analyzing the environmental conditions of the past.
This is a unicellular protist found in both marine and freshwater areas. After diatoms, dinoflagellates form a major portion of marine eukaryotes. The number of flagellae can vary from 1 - 3. Some dinoflagellates carry out the process of photosynthesis, whereas some are known to be colorless and also parasitic. Red tide, also known as algal bloom, is the result of large concentrations of dinoflagellates, giving the water body a red or brown coloration.
This is also known as rhodophyta, where most of the species (almost 6000) of red algae are multicellular. Their characteristic features include the presence of phycobiliproteins (an accessory pigment that gives algae their red color), eukaryotic cells sans centrioles and flagella, and usage of polysaccharides for the purpose of food reserves.
Red algae prefer a marine-based habitat, however certain species also exist in freshwater surroundings. Some species of red algae such as dulse and laver are used in the preparation of several food additives.
The Phaeophyceae (brown algae) are found in various shapes and sizes. Two characteristic elements of brown algae that make them unique among others - their pigments which vary from green to shades of brown, and the fact that they are multicellular.
The most common member of the group found in a marine biome, is kelp, in various forms. Mistaken for seaweed, kelps are closely associated with these organisms, and form 'forests' on the seabed. Kelps are widely used in Asian cuisine, especially in the preparation of sushi.
Thus, marine plants form an important part of the marine ecosystem. Together with fauna in the marine biome, these plants and phytoplanktons help in maintaining the balance of nature.