Some organisms can capture the energy of sunlight and use it to produce organic compounds. This process is essential for life because it provides energy to producers and consumers. Photosynthetic organisms, also known as photoautotrophs, are capable of photosynthesis. These organisms include higher plants, some protozoa such as algae and euglena, and bacteria.
Photosynthetic organisms – photoautotrophs capture the energy of sunlight and use it to produce organic compounds in the process of photosynthesis. The organisms known as phytoplankton play an essential role in Earth’s environment.
Like common plants, this broad category includes single-celled plants, bacteria, and algae – which use chlorophyll to convert carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water-based nutrients into oxygen. Found in freshwater and saltwater, these microscopic organisms form the basis of life in the ocean, providing everything from larger plankton species to enormous whales with sustenance.
Like forests, phytoplankton absorbs tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide, and scientists estimate that these tiny organisms collectively create the lion’s share of oxygen on Earth. Phytoplankton span different, larger categories of photosynthesizing creatures, but their environmental contribution is perhaps the largest.