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Thread: How and why does sunlight make Algae form?

  1. #1 How and why does sunlight make Algae form? 
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    How does sunlight form algae and would it form in "pure" water such as mineral water?


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  3. #2  
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    Dear Redmattersphere,

    Algae do not spontaneously arise from nowhere, and sunlight is unable to form algae. Rather, algae are typically autotrophic (self-feeding), eukaryotic (meaning that their cells possess nuclei and associated specialised organelles), uni- or multi- cellular organisms. The probable reason for the apparent correlation between the presence of sunlight and the macroscopic appearance of algae, is that photosynthetic algae are able to harvest more energy under relatively high light conditions and therefore are able to grow/reproduce at a greater rate. Indeed, in some cases, such growth may lead to the production of algal blooms.

    Kind Regards,

    Tridimity.


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  4. #3  
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    As for the pure/mineral water thing, I think that it would be possible for some types of algae to live under such conditions - algae are prominent in bodies of water and are sometimes found living on snow and ice, apparently. It would depend on the growth requirements of the type of alga.

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  5. #4 Agae 
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    Ok thanks, I understand that now...
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  6. #5  
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    The question should instead be: how do algae use sunlight to manufacture the energy needed to drive their growth and metabolism. The answer is of course through photosynthesis…though interestingly, the photosynthetic mechanisms and machinery used by algae are not exactly the same as those used by plants.

    The very sketchy draft is: the pigment absorbs incoming photons, releases electrons, and through a series of chemical reactions and proton gradients synthesises ATP and NADPH. NADPH is used in the Calvin cycle while ATP donates the energy required for the algae’s biological processes… namely the conversion of CO2 into organic compounds such as sugar, which is used as food . So essentially the sun provides algae with the energy it needs to convert CO2 into food and other important molecules.

    As for its ability to survive in a mineral bottle: the optimum pH range for algae is 8.2-8.7 ---but can survive at 7 (pure water pH at 25 degrees). Optimum salinities for algae are between 20—24 g l-1 (extremes are 12—40g per l), and as far as nutrients go they require nitrate, phosphate, silicate and a host of other nutrients, most of which are absorbed from the surrounding water. Because of this, and in my view, mineral water wouldn’t provide you with an ideal habitat for algal growth.
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  7. #6  
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    Thank you, that's very interesting.
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