• Question: Instead of soil would algee be like soil in plans that live in water?

    Asked by ScientistBella to Alex, Ana, Clay, Keegan, Mark on 29 Apr 2016.
    • Photo: Alexander Taylor

      Alexander Taylor answered on 29 Apr 2016:

      Many plants the live in water, like lotus flowers, have roots in the soil and muck on the lakebed. Other plants, like duckweed, float in the water, and their roots take up nutrients dissolved in the water directly. Dead and decomposing algae in the water will release some of these nutrients, but I’m not aware of plants that take nutrients directly from living algae.

    • Photo: Mark Ritchie

      Mark Ritchie answered on 29 Apr 2016:

      If I understand your question, you are asking if algae would be like soil for plants that live in water. The answer is no – plants that live in water either have roots that extend into the bottom of lakes, ponds, or rivers, or grow like plants in hydroponic cultures (without soil).

    • Photo: Clay Robinson

      Clay Robinson answered on 3 May 2016:

      Algae is a microorganism that is similar to a plant because it has chlorophyll, and can capture energy from the sun by making simple sugars.
      Most water plants have roots that live in the sediments at the bottom of the pond or lake or river or ocean. If the water is shallower than about 2 meters, light can get to the bottom and plants growing on the bottom can intercept that light and their leaves can still do photosynthesis. But these water plants still have their roots in soil.
      When the water is this shallow, and plants are growing on the bottom, most soil scientists consider these wetland soils, so even though they are covered with water all the time, the water is shallow and plants can grow in them, so they are soils.
      Algae floats around in the water (There are some kinds of algae that live in soil, too.), and provides no place for plant roots to anchor, so algae cannot be like soil for water plants.
      My fellow scientists talk about other kinds of water plants that do not have roots reaching into the stuff below the water. If the water is too deep to have light reach the bottom and plants grow, then the stuff on the bottom is no longer soil, only sediments.