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MARINE FLORA

MARINE FLORA

An article by Hannah Mackay with The Voice Magazine

Marine Flora can be separated into two groups; Algae and Sea Grass. Algae are simple in their makeup. They do not have roots, leaves or stems but do attach themselves to the seabed or even marine animals and objects such as turtles and spider crabs. Algae goes through similar growth patterns and reproduction cycles as land vegetation and is divided into four sub-groups; Green Algae, Brown Algae, Red Algae and Cyanophytes (blue-green algae).

ALGAE
As its name suggests, this is green in colour as they have no other pigment in their cells to mask the green of the chlorophyll. They can be found close to the shore and at depths where enough light can penetrate to allow photosynthesis to occur.

Brown Algae are more complex in a number of ways. The lower part of the algae acts as if it were a root which allows it to attach to the bottom, which is essential as most live in the surf zone. The cells contain other pigments that provide the colourings.

Red Algae have a complex reproductive cycle of several stages. Other pigments allow for the red colouring. Some species of red algae accumulate calcium carbonate which can form a hard, reddish or pinkish crust.

Cyanophytes are the rarer of the species and have a seasonal development which starts in late winter. The algae can cover vast areas of the sea bed but only for short periods before it disappears.

SEA GRASSES
Sea Grasses have evolved to adapt to a marine environment. They have a complex structure of a root, stem and leaf and can produce flowers, fruits and seeds. Cymodocea nodosa is the most abundant of the three species found here in the canaries. It can cover large areas of sandy bottoms, known as meadows and many fish use these areas for breeding grounds. All these flora and faunas are vital to all marine life for both nutrition and protection.

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