Earth/Environment: Where oxygen comes from
March 22, 2009
Posted By: Robert Corbin
Does 100 % of oxygen come from trees?
That is a great question! Humans need oxygen to live, so it's a good idea to know where it comes from. Oxygen is released into the air by trees but it can also be found in lots of other places.
Oxygen makes up about 20% of air, and it is also found in water. It is also found in rocks, minerals, plants, and the human body. Oxygen is needed for fires, and it is essential for humans to breathe. The oxygen in the air also has another form known as ozone. Ozone makes up part of the atmosphere known as the ozone layer and protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Oxygen is produced by some kinds of bacteria, algae, and plants (including trees) during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which bacteria, algae, and plants use light, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy, which they store as sugar. During photosynthesis, oxygen is released as a by-product. Most of the world's oxygen is released by plants. In fact, about half of our oxygen is released by tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton.
Since oxygen is so important to us, it's a good idea to protect the living things that produce it. That means making room for plants and trees and taking care of the oceans.
Good luck, future scientist!
Vice President, Learning Experiences 26 Posts
Prior to joining Discovery Place in 2007, Robert Corbin spent 15 years in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, teaching science and serving as a Science Academic Content Coach and mentor. He has developed science curricula for the Weather Channel, Paramount Pictures, the ASPCA, and the Environmental Literacy Council. He also wrote curriculum to accompany Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth.
Robert holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Urban Education from UNC-Charlotte, a M.A. in Natural Science Teaching from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Science Education from Michigan State University.