Early Oxygen Producers
One waste product of photosynthesis is free oxygen and as early forms of
life started to photosynthesize, oxygen was released into the atmosphere.
This made possible the evolution of more complex creatures that need oxygen
to get energy from their food. Blue-green algae were some of the very
early forms of life and today's species can still grow in extreme
conditions, from hot springs to the Arctic icepack. Some species absorb or
"fix" nitrogen from the air, forming nitrates in the soil for plants to
use. Cyanophytes can reduce the need for nitrate fertilisers in places
like rice paddies.
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