Yes. Aquatic plants are known to be autotrophs because they can survive independently by getting their food through photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis converts light into chemical energy and food.

So, aquatic plants are not heterotrophs because heterotrophs depend on another organism to survive, and that is not a trait shared with aquatic plants.

What is an aquatic Autotroph?

An aquatic autotroph is an organism that can make its food using water, light, and carbon dioxide.

Due to this, people refer to them as producers. Aquatic Plants are the most familiar type of autotroph, and one of them is Algae which lives in water, while some other tiny organisms also live in the ocean, and some of them are bacteria.

Some autotrophs are rare in their food production as they produce through a process called chemosynthesis instead of photosynthesis.

The process doesn’t involve light but chemical reactions, which involve the combination of hydrogen sulfide or methane with oxygen.

What are three types of Autotrophs?

· Green Plants

· Algae- Green algae and red algae

· Bacteria such as cyanobacteria

Green plants

Green plants are also referred to as photoautotrophs. This is a result of the ability it has in producing its food through photosynthesis.

They have chlorophyll in their leaves and store food produced by the plants in the form of starch.

The plant takes up carbon dioxide and emits oxygen for human consumption.

There are two lineages of green plants that you should know.

One is green algae which are microscopic freshwater forms and large seaweeds, while the second is the groups of green algae that are significantly related to land plants.

The two mentioned are monophyletic, which is the reason they are called green plants.


Algae are known to be chlorophyllous, avascular pants that have no cellular differentiation.

They are also aquatic and mostly found either in freshwater or in marine.

You can see only a few of them in moist terrestrial environments, such as in tree trunks, moist soil, and wet rocks, to mention a few. 

The two types of algae include green and red.

Green algae are seen chiefly in freshwater or marine. They can be in various forms such as unicellular motile known as Chlamydomonas, non-motile as chlorella, colonial as Volvox, Hydrodictyon, parenchymatous as Ulva, and Ceonocytc as Volvox.

Red algae are common in marine habitats.

The red color is due to the red pigment r-phycoerythrin and blue pigment r-phytocyanin in the chromatophores.

The red algae are polyphonic, Gelidium, Rhodymenia, and Batrachospernum.

The difference between the green algae and the red algae

Green algae

· They are primarily seen in fresh water and subaerial.

· Unicellular 

· Chlorophyll a and b type present

· The cell wall is cellulose.

· Fucoxanthin is absent

· Reserve food in starch

Red Algae

· Cell walls contain cellulose and sulfated hydrocolloids

· Phycobilins present

· Chlorophyll a and b type

· Mostly marine

· Unicellular species are few.

· Reserve food in Floridian starch

· Motile stages are absent.

Bacteria such as cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria is also aquatic and photosynthetic. They are small and unicellular, but you can see them because they grow in colonies.

Biologists refer to them as one of the most significant and most essential bacteria on earth due to their growth.

The free-living type of bacteria is seen in rice paddies’ water and can be found as epiphytes on the surfaces of some green chara and alga.

Types of heterotrophs with examples

There are different types of heterotrophs. They depend on other plants for survival, and they include:

  • Plant parasite

A parasite plant is a type of plant that depends on its host for survival.

This type of plant does not have left, and a typical example is a dodder with a weak cylindrical stem, which it uses to coil around the host to form suckers.

Through these suckers, the cell invades the host stem and connects with the host’s vascular bundle to get nutrients and water through the connection.

  • Saprophytes

The saprophytes are plants that get their food from dead matter. This is similar to fungi and bacteria.

Plants in this category use enzymes to convert organic foods material into smaller forms, making it easy for them to extract the nutrient needed for their growth.

  • Epiphytes

This plant grows on other plants, but it does not depend on the host for nutrition and other things needed for growth.

This type of plant has two kinds of roots known as the clinging aerial roots, responsible for absorbing nutrients from humus that get clogged in trees’ crevices.

In contrast, the aerial source is responsible for absorbing moisture from the atmosphere.

  • Symbiotic

This type includes two organisms living close to each other with lots of benefits.

The two neither lose anything nor gain anything. All they do is associate together growth and survival.

What plants are Heterotrophs?

Parasitic – Cuscuta, Sandalwood tree, Red Bartsia, Loranthus, and Mistletoe

Insectivorous – Venus flytrap, Sundew plant, Pitcher plant, Aldrovanda

Saprophytic – Mushroom, Monotropa, Sarcodes sanguinea uniflora, Monotropa hypopitys

Symbiotic – Mycorrhizae and vascular plants, legumes and Rhizobia, Actinorhizal plants and Frankia, Sponges, fungi, and algae

What organisms are both Autotrophs and Heterotrophs?

Cyanobacteria are that organisms that are both heterotrophs and autotrophs.

They go through photoautotrophic nutrition. Also, Archaea is another organism that possesses two modes of food.


Autotrophs and heterotrophs are the two major types of nutrition.

We have gathered the rightful information you need to know on these two facts surrounding the plants and organisms that exhibit one of the two nutritional systems.

Most aquatic plants are autotrophs and not heterotrophs.

However, we also shared some of the types of heterotrophic plants that you need to know. We do hope you find the information we have on this page insightful.