Seaweed air bladder uses air bubbles to

Seaweed is a type of algae that is found in marine waters throughout the world. In this lesson, explore the adaptations of seaweed that help it survive a sometimes tough watery environment.

Plants of the Sea

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and noticed green or brown weeds floating in the water? If so, you were looking at seaweed, which is actually a type of algae that lives in salt water habitats.

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Algae is a very simple type of plant, and as you will discover, seaweeds have adaptations that make them very different from the typical plants you see in a garden or yard. Adaptations are special features that help them reproduce and also survive in a pretty tough environment.

Strong Attachments

So what would happen if you walked into the ocean and stood with the water at your waist? The waves would come and push you around, maybe even knock you down if they were strong enough! So imagine what the waves can do to small seaweeds that weigh a lot less than you do.For this reason, one adaptation of some seaweeds is that they have anchors that can help them attach to rocks or pieces of driftwood.

These anchors allow them to remain in one place even when strong waves could push them around.

Spores, Photosynthesis, and Fronds

Normally plants make other plants by producing seeds, but not seaweeds. These plants use something called spores. A spore is a tiny one-celled organism that enables seaweeds to reproduce. Without spores, seaweeds would not exist.Like other plants, seaweeds produce their own food through a process called photosynthesis.

This process requires water, sunlight, and chlorophyll. By producing their own food, seaweeds can be self sufficient and not have to feed off other plants or animals.Seaweeds have small blades that are called fronds. These are similar to leaves, but they are divided into more sections than leaves. This is helpful for seaweeds because it gives them more surface area to gather sunlight and produce food.

Fronds of seaweeds are very tough, and this is helpful for the plant’s survival. This toughness allows the seaweed to avoid being torn by strong ocean waves. It also helps the seaweed keep water inside and not be dried out completely by the sun.

Air Bladder

When you let air out of a balloon, what happens? The balloon probably rises up and moves around on its own.

Some brown seaweeds have a similar structure called an air bladder. This air bladder uses air bubbles to help push the seaweed close to the surface of the water. Why is this good? The seaweed can get more sunlight, which is needed to produce food.

Avoiding Predators

Seaweeds can be a tasty snack for many ocean animals (and for many humans as well!) but these plants have some habits that make it harder for predators to eat them. Some seaweeds grow in areas at times of the year when herbivores, or plant eaters, are not active.

Other seaweeds produce chemicals that make them not so tasty for predators.

Lesson Summary

Seaweeds are a type of algae that have features that help them attach to rocks and other surfaces to withstand strong ocean waves. Seaweed plants reproduce using spores, and they create their own food through photosynthesis in their fronds, which are similar to leaves. Some brown seaweeds have an air bladder, which helps them stay at the surface to get more sunlight.


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