KBC 14: Photosynthesis of which of the following plants is responsible for nearly half the carbon dioxide fixation on Earth?

A) Angiosperms

B) Algae

C) Gymnosperms

D) Bryophytes

Answer: Algae

Nearly 50% of total carbon dioxide fixation is carried out by algae through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis by algae releases, oxygen in the immediate aquatic environment. It is essential for respiration of aquatic life. 

Algae is referred to a large and diverse group of photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. It is a polyphyletic grouping that included species from multiple distinct clades. The largest and most complex marine algae are called seaweeds, while the most complex freshwater forms are the Charophyta, a division of green algae which includes, Spirogyra and stoneworts. 

Algae lack structure that characterises land plants, such as the phyllids (leaf-like structure) of bryophytes, rhizoids of nonvascular plants, and the roots, leaves and other organs found in tracheophytes. Algae have photosynthetic machinery ultimately derived from cyanobacteria that produce oxygen as a by product of photosynthesis. Fossilised filamentous algae from the Vindhya basin have been dates back to 1.6 to 1.7 billion years ago. 

 Algae constitute a polyphyletic group since they do not include a common ancestor, and although their plastids seems to have a single origin, from cyanobacteria, they were acquired in different ways. Algae exhibit a wide range of reproductive strategies, from simple asexual cell division to complex forms of sexual reproduction. 

The wide ranges of Algae, have different industrial and traditional applications in human society. Traditional seaweed farming practices have existed for thousand of years and have strong traditions in East Asian food cultures. More modern alga-culture applications extend the food traditions for other applications include cattle feed, using algae for biomediation or pollution control, transferring sunlight into algae fuels or other chemicals used in industrial processes and in medical and scientific applications. 

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