What's one of the largest, if not the largest, single-celled organisms in the world?
And the answer: bubble algae.
The Valonia ventricosa, also known as bubble algae or sailor's eyeballs, is a species of algae found in warm ocean waters around the world. Recognizable by their brilliant green color, they're made of one single cell, but can grow up to 5 cm in diameter.
Bubble algae is unique in its size and unicellular composition. While most visible organisms are equipped with specialized cells to carry about the necessary processes of life, unicellular organisms depend upon just one cell for all of its functions. Bubble algae is one of the largest unicellular organisms on the planet.
The term "algae" covers many different organisms capable of producing oxygen through photosynthesis. These organisms are not necessarily closely related, and not all unicellular, but each is united in its ability to derive energy from the sun. Photosynthesis is essential to the precocity of life on this planet. Much of the Earth's atmosphere is derived from oxygen-producing powerhouses such as algae.
Interestingly, algae could be a sustainable replacement for high energy fossil fuels. All algae have the ability to produce energy-rich oils, while several species naturally accumulate high levels of oil in their dry mass. Algae can also be found in diverse habitats and reproduce quickly, while efficiently using carbon dioxide.
Join the conversation about algae sustainable fuel by checking out the video below.