Nostoc commune

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Nostoc commune

Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, represent the origin of all organisms that use photosynthesis to produce energy. Today, algae are significant contributors to much of the world’s energy.

Image: A type of algae known as Nostoc commune.

3D View: Nostoc commune
A view from space of an algae bloom.

Why this species is important

Star jelly, mare’s eggs and witches butter are all common names for blue-green algae called Nostoc commune (its name given by scientists). This type of algae lives in fresh inland waters and moist environments. It is one of the primary producers of energy in the Arctic.


Regulating nitrogen

Nostoc Commune helps to collect and regulate nitrogen that other Arctic plants use to grow.

Sliding the scale from left to right shows that an increase in nitrogen in the Arctic can lead to an increase in plant growth and animal activity in areas where moisture is abundant, such as lakes and ponds.

The green area represents Nostoc Commune while the blue area represents moisture.



This image shows that as nitrogen increases so does the plant and animal life around a pond.
More nitrogen
Less nitrogen

A basic building block


Nitrogen is a basic building block for all life on Earth. In the Arctic, where nitrogen is not abundant, Nostoc commune collects and regulates nitrogen that other Arctic plants use to grow. Without blue-green algae like Nostoc commune there would be limited plant growth in the Arctic region.


Survival food


Nostoc commune is an edible algae that can be eaten for its nutrient content for survival purposes.


Fertile algae


Nostoc commune has the ability to utilize nitrogen. Plants and humans have used this species of algae for thousands of years to create fertilizers.