Ocean Plants Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is a Plant?
  • 0:58 How Can a Plant Live…
  • 1:48 Ocean Plant Examples
  • 2:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Heather Pier

Heather has taught high school and college science courses, and has a master's degree in geography-climatology.

When we study the oceans, we almost always talk about the animals that live there. In this lesson, you'll learn about the plants that live among all those ocean animals.

What Is a Plant?

You are not a plant. But have you ever stopped to think about what makes a plant a plant before?

A plant is a type of living thing that can make its own food. Trees, flowers, and grass can all make their own food. Humans can't make their own food; we have to eat food that comes from the store or that we hunt for or grow ourselves.

Plants make their own food using the sun's energy. This happens through a special process called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, special chemicals in a plant's cells absorb the light energy from the sun and use it to make food inside the cell.

The photosynthesis process also requires some chemicals from the outside. The plants must take in carbon dioxide to help with the photosynthesis process.

After they have used the carbon dioxide and sunlight to make food, they give off oxygen to the environment around them. We use this oxygen to help us breathe. In fact, if there were no plants, there would be no oxygen, and we wouldn't be able to breathe at all!

How Can a Plant Live in the Ocean?

Plants in the oceans use sunlight like land plants do, but they don't always need as much of it as a land plant would. They also still use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen like land plants do. They just get the carbon dioxide from the water around them instead of the air around them.

Everybody knows that plants need water to live. That's why you have to water your plants, because if you didn't, they would eventually die. But did you know that plants prefer freshwater?

Most plants that live on land really don't like saltwater. They can tolerate it for a little while, but it will eventually kill them. This is why so many plants die when saltwater washes onto land during hurricanes.

But the plants that live in the ocean not only can tolerate saltwater, they thrive in it. Not every type of plant can do that. You couldn't just take a cactus from the desert and plant it in the ocean. It will die. Only very special plants can live in the salty water of the ocean.

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