Algae are capable of growing so quickly that they double their numbers within a few hours. Thanks to the ability to reproduce and grow quickly, as well as the potential as biofuel, algae are among the focus of much study and experimentation in the alternative energy industry.
Through photosynthesis, algae convert carbon dioxide into glucose, which is then broken down into fatty acids. Under most conditions, these fatty acids generate membranes for new algal cells, beginning the reproductive and growth cycle anew. In some cases, algae grow so quickly that they are said to bloom. This is harmful for many sea creatures, as the algae blooms pull oxygen from the water. So-called red tide algae blooms are toxic to humans.