Exclusive extract: amazing algae

Enjoy your exclusive sneak peek at the latest edition of How It Works…


Amazing algae


These organisms are more than just green slime – they have shaped human history and will go on to protect our future


You can find algae almost anywhere you can find water, from magnificent giant kelp forests rising from the ocean floor to the thin green film resting on a shallow pond. Over millions of years they have evolved to survive in the most extreme environments: deep within the ice of the Arctic, around acidic ocean vents and in lava flows. Even in puddles, within the bark of trees, and inside droplets of dew on grass in the morning, microscopic algae diatoms will be thriving – they are masters of survival.

Algae have shaped life on our planet, and without them many of the species alive today wouldn’t exist. Entire ocean ecosystems rely on them as a source of food, and over half of the oxygen we breathe comes from these remarkable organisms. Algae even play a role in the formation of clouds.

Throughout human history they have sustained us through famines and provided our species with medicine and nutrition. Today, having harnessed the power of algae, we use them in everything from food and pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and fuel. They are arguably the most important organisms in the world, but could they offer us even more in the future? Around the world people are looking towards algae to provide solutions to some of our planet’s greatest challenges…




Extract from Amazing algae by Charlie Evans. Featured in How It Works 111.


To read the full article, pick up a copy of issue 111 today. How It Works is available from all good newsagents, at My Favourite Magazines, or via the How It Works app on the App Store or Google Play.