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Arctic seaweed, and seaweed in general, is a common name for all the different species of marine plants and algae that grow in all the water bodies.
Around 18,000 years ago, the Arctic Circle experienced its last ever Ice Age. At that time, around 150 new species of Arctic seaweed were discovered.
When the ice melted, it was found that these Arctic plants had survived in unreal conditions. Temperatures were freezing and there was hardly any sunlight which is essential for plants to perform photosynthesis. Interestingly, researchers have found that Arctic seaweed is better at growing in such extreme conditions in the North Pole compared to some tropical regions. The main purpose of these plants is to provide shelter and refuge to sea animals. At the same time, during low tides when these plants reach the seashore, they are consumed as food by land animals including the polar fox, seal, and Arctic hare. Plankton is another organism that gets carried away by currents and is also referred to as marine drifters. Interestingly, plankton includes both plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). There are various different species of these marine organisms that can be found in the Arctic Ocean, and they are an integral part of the marine food chain at the lowest level. Arctic moss is another underwater plant found in the Arctic Ocean. A fact about vegetation in the Arctic is that you will get a salty taste if you eat kelp, and it has a distinct but pleasant taste. The flavor is due to the salt content in the ocean.
If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about Antarctica facts and Arctic Ocean islands here on Kidadl?
Although the Arctic Ocean is the shallowest and the smallest ocean in the world, it is home to a wide variety of plants that are only found here. Usually, people imagine ferns, bushes, and grasses when they hear the word 'plants' but the plant kingdom includes the likes of mosses, hornworts, and liverworts as well.
There are a few unique plant species found in the Arctic Ocean including the likes of certain seaweed, Arctic moss, and phytoplankton. Phytoplankton is the plant part of plankton organisms, and they play a key role in the food chain of the Arctic as they are food to organisms such as copepods in the Arctic. Arctic seaweed, such as Halosacciocolax and Furcellaria, are found on the ground level of the Arctic Ocean, and they are visually pretty distinct and serve the purpose of shelter to various animals. Arctic moss or Calliergon giganteum is a part of the Arctic ecosystem which has a brown color with tiny crowded branches and small-sized leaves. Interestingly, this is the longest living freshwater macrophyte. Countries including Canada, Norway, Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and the US share their boundaries with the Arctic Ocean. Did you know that there is a unique flavor of local flake salt present along the Arctic coast of Norway and its taste can be identified in a number of local dishes there?
Polar regions refer to the areas on the North Pole and the South Pole surrounding the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle, respectively. Many people believe the ecosystem to be non-existent and that there are no plants or hardly any animals. However, these polar regions are far from being lifeless.
The biotic factor in these polar regions refers to the flora and fauna present in the ecosystem. In these polar regions, you can find lichens, moss, algae, and some flowering plants as well as some terrestrial species such as ticks, mites, and some species of wingless flies. You can also find marine animals in these polar regions such as penguins, squid, fish, whales, some tiny krill, and seals. Abiotic factors which affect the life of this region include temperature, precipitation, and sunlight. These regions experience total darkness and long hours of sunlight during different times of the year which again affect the growth of food-providing plants. Moreover, these places do not enjoy a lot of rain despite all the ice present, and thus, are like cold deserts.
In polar regions, plant life is very different from that found along the coasts or in any other regions. The layer of soil which remains active is pretty thin due to which not a lot of plants can grow in such regions.
Therefore, plants which grow in this region are small and are always close to each other, as well as the ground. Plants growing in polar regions include Antarctic lichen, Arctic poppy, Arctic willow, and bearberry. In general, mosses, grasses, lichens, dwarf woody shrubs, and sedges are found in the polar region that is in the name of the plant.
The tundra biome is referred to as large polar deserts found in high latitudes in the polar regions. The flora and fauna of this region have special adaptive features to conserve their energy and survive.
Plants here stay close to the ground to get warmth and most of them are dark-colored for better absorption of any sunlight available. Some plants have hair-covered leaves to better capture heat and almost all of them store their biomass under the ground level as it is warmer there. Animals, on the other hand, have also adapted to the tundra biome in unique ways. Most animals like bears have short tails and ears to retain heat. Animals and birds living here also have thick layers of fat, fur to better trap heat, and many of them are dark-colored to better absorb sunlight. Lichens, mosses, and fungi are some producers in the tundra.
Under ideal conditions, seaweed can grow quite small amounts each day. If seaweed or kelp is cooked, it will taste a bit salty, and the flavor is due to the salt content in the sea.
Seaweed requires sunlight, freshwater, and an abundance of carbon dioxide to grow in the best possible manner. You do not need to fertilize or weed it as all the nutrients it requires are readily available in the environment around it.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked finding out about Arctic seaweed, then why not take a look at Arctic characteristics or Arctic Ocean facts?
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