Functions of water in living beings - Summary

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Water is the most important element for life. Although we could think that this statement is valid only for aquatic organisms, since water constitutes their habitat, the truth is that it is important for all living beings that inhabit planet Earth. In fact, all living things require water to fulfill their basic vital functions. For this reason, from Ecologista Verde we want to emphasize the importance of water, more precisely on the functions of water in living things. If this topic is of interest to you, we invite you to continue reading this interesting article.

What is water and its types

Before learning what is the function of water in living things, we will start with the basics: what is water and what types exist. Water is a molecule that is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Among its peculiarities we can mention that the water is insipid, since it has no flavor, odorless, since it does not have an odor, and colorless, that is, without color. For its part, water in ecosystems can be present in three different states.

  • Liquid state of water: Possibly the state that we observe most frequently is liquid, such as the water that flows through our taps and that is found in bodies of water, such as rivers, seas and oceans.
  • Solid state of water: Another state is the solid, which is found mainly at the poles, in glaciers or even in some bodies of water in which its surface freezes.
  • Gaseous state of water: the third state, perhaps the most difficult to observe in nature, is the gaseous state, in the form of water vapor, which is found mostly in the atmosphere.

Curiously, during the water cycle, it undergoes a series of transformations and goes through the 3 states just described. Here you can learn more about The Water Cycle.

Now, water can be classified according to different criteria. Next, we will list the types of water according to their chemical characteristics:

  • Sweet water: it has a low concentration of salts and dissolved solids. It is the one that is found in rivers, streams, glaciers, some lakes and lagoons and also in underground aquifers. Find out more about this type of water by reading these articles: Why river water is fresh and Freshwater aquatic ecosystems.
  • Saltwater: It has a high concentration of dissolved salts. It is the one that forms the seas and oceans and some lakes and lagoons of salt water. In these other articles you will be able to learn more about it: Why sea water is salty and What are the aquatic ecosystems of salt water.
  • Hard water: Also called calcareous water, it has high concentrations of dissolved minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium salts. It is common in groundwater.
  • Soft water: Unlike hard water, soft water has very small amounts of dissolved salts.
  • Waste water: wastewater is any type of water that has been negatively affected in its chemical composition by the influence of human beings.

On the other hand, water can also be classified according to the type of treatment it has received:

  • Drinking water: that which, after a purification treatment, is suitable for human consumption and does not present concentrations of compounds that may affect health. Read more about it in this other post: What is drinking water and its characteristics.
  • Distilled water: is the water has been purified through a process of distillation. Here you can learn more about what distilled water is for and how to make it.
  • Raw or raw water: In contrast to those just mentioned, raw water is that which has not received any type of treatment.

For more information, we encourage you to read this other post about the Types of water. Since we have learned some basic aspects of water, in the following sections we will develop the functions of water in the organism of living beings.

Structural function

The water is essential in cells and tissues and the hydration of these gives consistency to the organisms, not only to the animals but also to the vegetal organisms and of other types. As an example, water in organisms is so important that the percentage of water in the human body is approximately 70%. In addition, it is the main component of blood, lymph and sap.

We recommend reading more about cells and tissues:

  • Parts of the animal cell.
  • Parts of the plant cell.
  • Types of animal tissues.
  • Types of plant tissues.

Thermoregulatory function

Water also allows living things monitor your body temperature. For example, when temperatures are high, organisms perspire, that is, they release sweat or water vapor from their interior, to cool their exterior and thus reduce body temperature and be able to continue fulfilling their vital functions as best as possible.

Solvent function

Some researchers call water universal solvent, since it has the ability to dissolve a large number of molecules. Thanks to this particularity, water is a conducive medium for the metabolic reactions of organisms to occur in it.

Biochemical function

Another point that highlights what water is for is its biochemical function. Water is not only the medium where they occur metabolic reactions, but is also a participant in some of these reactions. To mention a few examples, water is the product of many reactions such as respiration and the substrate of other reactions such as photosynthesis. Likewise, water is key in the digestion of food.

Transport function

The role of water as transport allows nutrients are incorporated from digestion that are distributed by blood, lymph and sap. Here you can read about the Nutrition Function: what it is and processes.

It also facilitates that waste is removed or toxins through urine. In this way, water enables the nutrition and purification of organisms so that they continue to function properly.

Damping and lubricating function

The synovial fluid, which is composed mainly of water, reduces the friction of the bones and works as a shock absorber of the joints. Too, tears, saliva and snot made up of a large percentage of water, they serve as a lubricant for the membranes and mucous membranes of many animals, including humans.

Now that you know better the functions of water in living beings, you will be able to better understand why it is so important to hydrate by drinking water and why water is important for living beings in general, but we also recommend you take a look at our article.

If you want to read more articles similar to Functions of water in living beings, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: