Role of Algae in the Ecosystem

••• Baac3nes/Moment/GettyImages

Whether considering algae that is nearly invisible to the eye or the kind making up a thriving kelp forest, this essential organism serves as an integral part of aquatic ecosystems.


Algae is a large, diverse group of photosynthetic organisms. Photosynthetic organisms have the ability to convert sunlight to food and energy. Algae are not considered plants.


Algae are the ultimate source of food and energy for other organisms in aquatic ecosystems. As primary producers, algae form the basis of the aquatic food web.


Algae also provides the major source of oxygen to other organisms. During the growing season, algae can absorb and synthesize nutrients and trace metals.


Some algae are simple, one-celled and microscopic whereas others are complex, multicellular, and tens of meters in length. Algae can be found in lakes, oceans, hot vents, and boiling springs near volcanoes, desert sands, snow, and ice.

Fun Fact

Algae is found in the fossil record as far back as three billion years ago, dating its origin to the prolific Precambrian era.

Related Articles

The Morphology of Algae
Ecological Importance of Algae
The Major Producers Found in Aquatic Ecosystems
What Do Volvox Eat?
Is Algae a Decomposer, a Scavenger or a Producer?
What Are Good Protists?
What Type of Vegetation Is Found in Coral Reefs?
What Do Chloroplasts Use to Make Glucose?
What Are the Functions of Photosynthesis?
Plants That Live in the Ocean Habitat
Biotic Factors in a Freshwater Ecosystem
Types of Organisms That Can Use Photosynthesis
Key Differences Between C3, C4 and CAM Photosynthesis
Characteristics of the Six Kingdoms of Organisms
Examples of Marine Food Chains
The Three Stages of Photosynthesis
Facts About Seaweed
Type of Energy Produced by Photosynthesis
The Structure of Algae
In What Type of Habitat Would You Find a Protist?