The algae we grow at Simris are microalgae. Microalgae are microscopic plants that live in the sea, and belong to the earth’s most ancient organisms. Algae naturally produce many essential nutrients, which are necessary not only for sea life, but also for human and animal health and wellbeing.
Micro vs macro
Algae are plants that live in water. They are roughly divided into macroalgae, such as seaweed and kelp, and microalgae, also known as phytoplankton.
Origin of Life
Microalgae belong to the Earth’s oldest organisms and are the basis of life as we know it today. They are the origin of plants and gave rise to the planet’s oxygen-rich air, which we animals and humans need to live.
Inventors of Photosynthesis
Billions of years ago, microalgae learned to live by photosynthesis, i.e. by harnessing sunlight and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and then releasing oxygen instead. Even today, over 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe comes from the algae in the oceans.
Basis of the marine food chain
Algae also form the basis of the marine food chain, and produce substances that are essential to the lives of all animals in the oceans. For example, omega-3 oils in fatty fish and the red colour of salmon and shellfish come from algae. It is these same substances that are so nutritious for us humans as well.
A new world waiting to be discovered
There are hundreds of thousands of different varieties of microalgae, but just a fraction have been researched and characterised. Only about a dozen species are cultivated commercially today. You might already be familiar with spirulina, chlorella or the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which comes from algae.