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Name: Natalie
Status: student
Grade: N/A
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Question:
In the beginning, did algae of any kind play any role in the development of our breathable atmosphere?


Replies:
Dear Natalie,

Some type of photosynthetic organism was involved in the production of oxygen.
http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/Plants_Human/whyplants.html

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.


The early oxygen-producers are thought to be cyanobacteria, sometimes known as blue-green algae. They are agtually bacteria, not true algae, but they fill much the same niche as algae. It's probably more accurate to call them "blue-green pond scum" than "blue green algae."

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.


Most were probably cyanobacteria-like bacteria that could photosynthesize.

Steve Sample


Current belief is that the first cells were heterotrophic (could not make their own food) and that autotrophs (photosynthesizers) came later. Some of the evidence for this is the lack of oxide containing rock in the oldest dated rocks. Since single celled organisms came before multi-celled ones, that leaves algae as the organisms that seem to have supplied the atmosphere with oxygen.

Van Hoeck


The early oxygen-producers are thought to be cyanobacteria, sometimes known as blue-green algae. They are agtually bacteria, not true algae, but they fill much the same niche as algae. It's probably more accurate to call them "blue-green pond scum" than "blue green algae."

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.


Dear Natalie,

Some type of photosynthetic organism was involved in the production of oxygen.
http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/Plants_Human/whyplants.html

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.



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