Chlorophyta: Green Algae

y Characteristics: Green colour from chlorophyll a and b in the same proportions as the 'higher' plants; beta-carotene (a yellow pigment); and various characteristic xanthophylls (yellowish or brownish pigments). Food reserves are starch, some fats or oils like higher plants. Green algae are thought to have the progenitors of the higher green plants but there is currently some debate on this point.

y Green algae may be unicellular (one cell), multicellular (many

cells), colonial (living as a loose aggregation of cells) or coenocytic (composed of one large cell without cross-walls; the cell may be uninucleate or multinucleate). They have membrane-bound chloroplasts and nuclei. Most green are aquatic and are found commonly in freshwater (mainly charophytes) and marine habitats (mostly chlorophytes); some are terrestrial, growing on soil, trees, or rocks (mostly trebouxiophytes). Some are symbiotic with fungi giving lichens. Others are symbiotic with animals, e.g. the freshwater coelentrate Hydra has a symbiotic species of Chlorella as does Paramecium bursaria, a protozoan. A number of freshwater green algae (charophytes, desmids and Spirogyra) are now included in the Charophyta (charophytes), a phylum of predominantly freshwater and terrestrial algae, which are more closely related to the higher plants than the marine green algae belonging to the Chlorophyta (known as chlorophytes). Other green algae from mostly terrestrial habitats are included in the Trebouxiophyceae, a class of green algae with some very unusual features.

y Live in both fresh and salt water. y Many exist as long filaments, or strings. y Produce most of the oxygen we breath. y Some species pollute public water systems by

poisoning the water and producing a foul smell.

Rhodophyta: Red algae
y Characteristics: The red colour of

these algae results from the pigments phycoerythrin and phycocyanin; this masks the other pigments, Chlorophyll a (no Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and a number of unique xanthophylls. The main reserves are typically floridean starch, and floridoside; true starch like that of higher plants and green algae is absent. The walls are made of cellulose and agars and carrageenans, both longchained polysaccharide in widespread commercial use. There are some unicellular representatives of diverse origin; more complex thalli are built up of filaments.

y A very important group of red algae is the coralline algae, which secrete calcium carbonate onto the surface of their cells. Some of these corallines are articulated (right, Corallina, with flexible erect branches; others are crustose (below). These corallines have been used in bone-replacement therapies. Coralline algae were used in ancient times as vermifuges, thus the binomial Corallina officinalis.

y Live only in salt water. y Color results from combination of blue, red, and green

pigments. y Used as food. y Produce carrageen, a thickener used in ice cream and pudding.

Phaeophyceae: Brown Algae
y The brown colour of these algae

results from the dominance of the xanthophyll pigment fucoxanthin, which masks the other pigments, Chlorophyll a and c (there is no Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and other xanthophylls. Food reserves are typically complex polysaccharides, sugars and higher alcohols. The principal carbohydrate reserve is laminaran, and true starch is absent (compare with the green algae). The walls are made of cellulose and alginic acid, a long-chained heteropolysaccharide.

y There are no known unicellular or colonial representatives; the simplest plant form is a branched, filamentous thallus. The kelps are the largest (up to 70 m long) and perhaps the most complex brown algae, and they are the only algae known to have internal tissue differentiation into conducting tissue; there is, however, no true xylem tissue as found in the 'higher' plants. y Most brown algae have an alternation of haploid and diploid generations. The haploid thalli form isogamous, anisogamous or oogamous gametes and the diploid thalli form zoospores, generally by meiosis. The haploid (gametangial) and diploid (sporangial) thalli may be similar (isomorphic) or different (heteromorphic) in appearance, or the gametangial generation may be extremely reduced (Fucales).

y Live only in salt water. y Color results from combination of green and brown

pigments. y Represent the largest species of algae. y Used as food. y Produce algin, a gummy substance used in making cosmetics and ice cream.

Pyrrophyta:Dinoflagellates
y Live only in salt water. y Have two flagella: one

for locomotion and one for steering. y Often appear red. y Some release toxins into the water, causing a "red tide" that often kills large numbers of fish and other marine life.

What is a Dinoflagellate?
y They are planktonic. y They are small.

90% of all dinoflagellates are marine plankton.

Although many of them are microscopic, the largest, Noctiluca, may be as large as 2 mm in diameter! Dinoflagellates swim by means of two flagella, movable protein strands which propel the cell through the water. The longitudinal flagellum extends out from the sulcal groove of the hypotheca (posterior part of cell); when it whips back and forth it propels the cell forward. The flattened flagellum lies in the cingulum, the groove that extends around the equator of the cell. Its motion provides maneuvering and forward movement. As a result of the action of the two flagella the cell spirals as it moves.

y They are motile.

y Many are covered by cellulose plates.

The cell is surrounding by a series of membranes called the amphiesma. In "armored" species cellulose deposited between the membranes forms rigid plates called thecae. "Naked" cells lack thecae. In addition, the DNA is not associated with histones as in other eukaryotic cells. Dinoflagellates contain a lot of DNA, which explains the large size of the nucleus. The metabolic requirements of supporting the large amount of DNA may explain the low growth rates of dinoflagellates compared to other unicellular protists. Many dinoflagellates are photosynthetic, manufacturing their own food using the energy from sunlight, and providing a food source for other organisms. The photosynthetic dinoflagellates are important primary producers in coastal waters.

y Their chromosomes are always condensed.

y Not all dinoflagellates are photosynthetic.

y Live only in salt water. y Have two flagella: one for locomotion and one for

steering. y Often appear red. y Some release toxins into the water, causing a "red tide" that often kills large numbers of fish and other marine life.

Euglenophyta: Euglenoids
y The Euglenophyta or

euglenoids are 800 species of unicellular, protozoan-like algae, most of which occur in fresh waters. The euglenoids lack a true cell wall, and are bounded by a proteinaceous cell covering known as a pellicle.

y Euglenophytes have one to three flagellae for

locomotion, and they store carbohydrate reserves as paramylon. The primary photosynthetic pigments of euglenophytes are chlorophylls a and b, while their accessory pigments are carotenoids and xanthophylls.

y Most euglenoids have chloroplasts, and are

photosynthetic. Some species, however, are heterotrophic, and feed on organic material suspended in the water. Even the photosynthetic species, however, are capable of surviving for some time if kept in the dark, as long as they are "fed" with suitable organic materials.

Chrysophyta: golden-brown algae
y The Chrysophyta are the golden-brown algae and diatoms, which respectively account for 1,100 and 40,000100,000 species of unicellular algae. These algae occur in both marine and fresh waters, although most species are marine. The cell walls of golden-brown algae and diatoms are made of cellulose and pectic materials, a type of hemicellulose.

y In the diatoms especially, the cell wall is heavily

impregnated with silica and is therefore quite rigid and resistant to decay. These algae store energy as a carbohydrate called leucosin, and also in oil droplets. The golden-brown algae achieve locomotion using one to two flagellae. The photosynthetic pigments of these algae are chlorophylls a and c, and the accessory pigments are carotenoids and xanthophylls, including a specialized pigment known as fucoxanthin.

y Live in both fresh and salt water. y Have glassy cell walls, which form a two-part shell that

fits together like two halves of a Petri dish. y Form the base of the marine food chain. y Large deposits of diatomaceous earth found in many places were formed from the remains of diatoms. y Used to make cleansers, pool filters, and toothpaste.

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