The Macrophytes (aquatic plants or hydrophytes) although in this guide we have placed them within the Algae, in reality they are not part of them, but are plants that have been adapted to live in very humid or aquatic environments. The reason for having included them within the Algae is the fact that colloquially they are called Algae.
There are different degrees of adaptation of Macrophytes to the aquatic environment, and therefore they are a tremendously heterogeneous group of species, in which we can find...
- Partially submerged (emerging macrophytes) (they are the majority). Generally, these are perennial species that, being partially submerged because the bottoms in which they live are usually permanently or temporarily waterlogged, they develop their reproductive organs above the water surface.
- Species that have floating leaves (floating macrophytes). Unlike the previous ones, the bottoms where we find these species are permanently waterlogged, and therefore have developed specialized structures that allow the leaves to float on the water surface. We differentiate between the rooted floating Macrophytes, which have roots anchored to the bottom; and the free-floating Macrophytes, which as their name suggests, their roots are not anchored to the bottom but hang from the floating leaves.
- Species that are totally submerged (submerged Macrophytes). In this group we find what are probably the best known group of Macrophytes, the angiosperms. These plants live entirely below the surface of the water, in regions where sunlight reach them, so they are relatively shallow species and rarely found below 30 meters deep.
The Macrophytes are species considered as primary producers, which not only produce oxygen but also represent the base of the trophic chain for many organisms.