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Plant-like Algae

Species: Family: Chara spp., muskgrass, stonewort, muskwort Characeae

Although these common lake inhabitants look similar to many underwater plants, they are actually algae. Muskgrasses are green or gray-green colored algae that grow completely submersed in shallow (4 cm) to deep (20 m) water. Individuals can vary greatly in size, ranging from 5 cm to 1 m in length. The main "stem" of muskgrasses bear whorls of branchlets, clustered at regularly spaced joints. When growing in hard water, muskgrasses sometimes become coated with lime, giving them a rough gritty feel. These algae are identifiable by their strong skunk-like or garlic odor, especially evident when crushed. Leaf: Algae lack true leaves. Six to 16 leaf-like branchlets of equal length grow in whorls around the stem, and are never divided. These branchlets often bear tiny thorn-like projections, which give the plant a rough or prickly appearance when magnified. Stem: Algae lack true stems. The round, stem-like structure varies from 5 cm to over 1 m in length. Flower: Algae do not produce flowers. Instead, microscopic one-celled sex organs called oogonia are formed. These tiny organs and patterns in the cases that surround them are used to distinguish between species. Fruit: Algae do not produce fruits. Tiny spores are produced in fruiting bodies. In some species the fruiting bodies are orange and very conspicuous. Root: Muskgrasses may be attached to the bottom by root-like structures called holdfasts. Propagation: Spores carried by water and waterfowl; plant fragments. Importance of plant: An important food source for waterfowl, particularly ducks. Provides valuable protection for young fish and invertebrates. Muskgrasses grow quickly and occasionally cover the entire bottom of ponds, however its low growth rarely causes it to be considered a nuisance in Washington. Distribution: Worldwide. More than 30 species in the U.S. Habitat: Fresh to brackish water, inland and coastal, in both shallow and deep water. Some species found in alkaline lakes and slow-moving streams. Muskgrassses will often grow in deeper water than vascular aquatic plants. May be confused with: Other plant-like algae: Nitella (Nitella spp.), which have symmetrically forked smooth branchlets, do not have lime coatings, and lack the odor of muskgrasses; and Tolypella spp., which have unsymmetrically forked branches. Slender water-nymph (Najas flexilus) and coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum) are vascular plants which have a different leaf structure and do not produce an odor when crushed. Algae (singular alga) are a large and diverse group of photosynthetic, eukaryotic, plant-like organisms that use chlorophyll in capturing light energy, but lack characteristic plant structures such as leaves, roots, flowers, vascular tissue, and seeds. The designation algae includes diverse phyla, including diatoms (golden algae), green algae, euglenoids (flagellates), brown algae, and red algae, and range from single-celled organisms to giant seaweeds. The name alga (plural algae) comes from the Latin word for seaweed. The study of algae is called phycology or algology.

Algae range from single-celled organisms to multi-cellular organisms, some with fairly complex differentiated form and, if marine, called seaweeds. Some of the single-celled organisms may be as small as one micrometer. Multicellular algae may consist of a row of cells, appearing as a filament, or as a thin plate of cells, or even some larger ones may have bodies with a rudimentary division of labor. The multicellular giant kelp reaches 60 meters in length. Seaweeds themselves have many forms, including those that appear as if terrestrial plants with leaves and stems, looking like moss, mushrooms, leaf lettuce, or even palm trees. The various types of algae play significant roles in ecology. Algae are the base of the aquatic food chain. Microscopic forms that live suspended in the water columncalled phytoplanktonprovide the food base for most marine food chains. The photosynthetic work done by algae is believed to produce more than three-quarters of the oxygen in the earth's atmosphere; far more than that produced by terrestrial plants. In very high densities (so-called algal blooms), algae may discolor the water and outlast or poison other life forms.

General characteristics and ecology


Algae are usually found in damp places or bodies of water and thus are common in aquatic environments, but they are also found in terrestrial locales. Most unicellular and colonial algae are aquatic, and float near the surface of the water. The seaweeds grow mostly in shallow marine waters, but some, such as the red algae, can grow quite deep in the ocean. Terrestrial algae are usually rather inconspicuous and far more common in moist, tropical regions than dry ones, because algae lack vascular tissues and other adaptations to live on land. Algae can endure dryness and other conditions in symbiosis with a fungus as lichen. All algae have photosynthetic machinery that is considered to derive from the cyanobacteria, and so produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, unlike the noncyanobacterial photosynthetic bacteria. It is believed that more than three-quarters of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from algae and cyanobacteria, rather than from plants. Although all algae utilize chlorophyll, at times other pigments mask the green color, resulting in organisms with red and brown colors. In temperate zones, the photosynthesis of algae may be the sole source of oxygen in icecovered lakes and ponds. If the ice remains thin and clear, such photosynthesis can help keep oxygen levels high enough to prevent fish kills by compensating for oxygen lost through respiration and decomposition. When sunlight is reduced through snow cover or thick ice, algal photosynthesis may be reduced to the point of threatening fish survival. Some algae reproduce both sexually and asexually, such as the green algae (for example, Chlamydomonas, a unicellular green algae). The presence of sexual reproduction in some form is a nearly universal trait among living organisms, as seen even at this simple level.

Taxonomy of algae
The term algae is mainly used for convenience, rather than taxonomic purposes, as there appears little relationship between the various phyla. Although they have historically been regarded as simple plants, algae are generally classified in the kingdom Protista, rather than

Plantae. Algae sometimes are defined as "photosynthetic protists"; however, some taxonomic schemes do not limit them to this kingdom. Algae are distinguished from the other main protists, the protozoa, in that they are photoautotrophic (deriving energy from photosynthesis only), although this is not a hard and fast distinction as some groups contain members that are mixotrophic, deriving energy both from photosynthesis and uptake of organic carbon by such means as osmotrophy (by osmosis) or phagotrophy (enveloping by the cell membrane). Some scientists include as algae the prokaryotic (simple cell structure lacking a nucleus or organelles) cyanobacteria, which are aquatic, photosynthetic, and commonly known as "blue-green algae." However, in general, the designation of algae is limited to eukaryotic (cell structure with a differentiated nucleus and organelles), photosynthetic organisms.

Prokaryotic "algae"
Sometimes the prokaryotic cyanobacteria, given their aquatic and photosynthetic characteristic, have been included among the algae, and have been referred to as the cyanophytes or blue-green algae. Recent treatises on algae often exclude them, and consider as algae only eukaryotic organisms. Cyanobacteria are some of the oldest organisms to appear in the fossil record, dating back about 3.8 billion years (Precambrian). Ancient cyanobacteria likely produced much of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. Cyanobacteria can be unicellular, colonial, or filamentous. They have a prokaryotic cell structure typical of bacteria and conduct photosynthesis directly within the cytoplasm, rather than in specialized organelles. Some filamentous blue-green algae have specialized cells, termed heterocysts, in which nitrogen fixation occurs.

Eukaryotic algae
As commonly defined, algae are eukaryotes and conduct photosynthesis within membranebound structures (organelles) called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain DNA and are similar in structure to cyanobacteria, with the speculation that they represent reduced cyanobacterial endosymbionts. The exact nature of the chloroplasts is different among the different lines of algae, possibly reflecting different endosymbiotic events. There are three groups that have primary chloroplasts: y y y

Green algae (together with higher plants) Red algae Glaucophytes

In these groups, two membranes surround the chloroplast. The chloroplasts of red algae have a more or less typical cyanobacterial pigmentation, while the green algae and higher plants have chloroplasts with chlorophyll a and b, the latter found in some cyanobacteria but not most. There is support for the view that these three groups originated from a common pigmented ancestor; i.e., chloroplasts developed in a single endosymbiotic event. Red and green algae have an "alternation of generations" life cycle. This is the same life cycle as the mosses, suggesting that green algae were ancestral to mosses. Green aquatic, the most diverse algae with over seven thousand identified species, are generally aquatic,

and the majority are freshwater organisms. They range from unicellular organisms to marine species of large, multicellular seaweeds. Most of the seaweeds of the warm oceans are red algae. They absorb the deep penetrating blue light, allowing them to exist deeper than other algae. Two other groups have green chloroplasts containing chlorophyll b: y y

euglenids and chlorarachniophytes.

Three and four membranes surround these, respectively, and it is speculated that they were retained from an ingested green alga. Those of the chlorarchniophytes contain a small nucleomorph, which is the remnant of the alga's nucleus. The remaining algae all have chloroplasts containing chlorophylls a and c. The latter chlorophyll type is not known from any prokaryotes or primary chloroplasts, but genetic similarities with the red algae suggest a relationship there. These groups include: y y y y

Heterokonts (e.g., golden algae, diatoms, brown algae) Haptophytes (e.g., coccolithophores) Cryptomonads Dinoflagellates

In the first three of these groups (put together in the supergroup Chromista, along with various colorless forms), the chloroplast has four membranes, retaining a nucleomorph in cryptomonads, and it is speculated that they share a common pigmented ancestor. The typical dinoflagellate chloroplast has three membranes, but there is considerable diversity among chloroplasts in the group. The Apicomplexa, a group of closely related parasites, also have plastids, though not actual chloroplasts, which share similarities with that of the dinoflagellates. The brown algae include the major seaweeds found on the shores in the temperate zones and the large, offshore beds of kelps. Note many of these groups contain some members that are not photosynthetic, but are considered to have once been photosynthetic. Some retain plastids, but not chloroplasts, while others are considered to have lost them entirely.

Forms of algae
Most of the simpler algae are unicellular flagellates or amoeboids, but colonial and nonmotile forms have developed independently among several of the groups. Some of the more common organizational levels, more than one of which may occur in the life cycle of a species, are: y y y y y y

Colonial - small, regular groups of motile cells Capsoid - individual non-motile cells embedded in mucilage (thick, gluey, sugary substance) Coccoid - individual non-motile cells with cell walls Palmelloid - non-motile cells embedded in mucilage Filamentous - a string of non-motile cells connected together, sometimes branching Parenchymatous - cells forming a thallus with partial differentiation of tissues

In three lines, even higher levels of organization have been reached, leading to organisms with full tissue differentiation. These are the brown algaesome of which may reach 60 meters in length (kelps)the red algae, and the green algae. The most complex forms are found among the green algae, in a lineage that is considered to have eventually led to the higher land plants. The point where these non-algal plants begin and algae stop is usually taken to be the presence of reproductive organs with protective cell layers, a characteristic not found in the other algal groups.

Algae and symbioses


Algae frequently form part of a symbiosis with other organisms. In a symbiotic relationship, the alga photosynthesises and supplies photosynthates to its host. The host organism is then capable of deriving some or all of its energy requirements from the alga. Examples include: y y

lichens - a fungus is the host, usually with a green alga or a cyanobacterium as the symbiont. Both fungi and algae found in lichens are capable of living independently. corals - several algae form symbioses (zooxanthellae) with corals. Notable among these is the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, found in many hard corals. The loss of Symbiodinium, or other zooxanthellae, from the host leads to coral bleaching.

Uses of algae
Algae are helpful in reducing pollutants. They assist in capturing the runoff fertilizers that enter lakes and streams from nearby farms. Algae are used in many wastewater treatment facilities, reducing the need for harmful chemicals, and are used in some power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon dioxide is pumped into a pond, or some kind of tank, on which the algae feed. The natural pigments produced by algae can be used as an alternative to chemical dyes and coloring agents. Algae is commercially cultivated as a nutritional supplement. Among algal species cultivated for their nutritional value include chlorella (a green algae) and dunaliella (Dunaliella salina), which is high in beta-carotene and is used in vitamin C supplements. One of the most popular microalgal species is spirulina (Arthrospira platensis), which is a cyanobacteria, and has been hailed by some as a superfood. Algae is used in the Chinese "vegetable" known as fat choy (which is actually a cyanobacterium). Many common products, such as hand lotion, lipstick, paint, and ice cream, contain derivatives from algae. Algae can be used to produce biodiesel fuel, and by estimates can potentially produce superior amounts of oil compared to land-based crops. Because algae grown to produce biodiesel do not need to meet the requirements of a food crop, it is much cheaper to produce. Also, it does not need fresh water or fertilizer (both of which are quite expensive). Currently, most research into efficient algal-oil production is being done in the private sector, but if predictions from small-scale production experiments bear out, then using algae to produce biodiesel may be the most viable method by which to produce enough automotive fuel to replace current world gasoline usage. The per unit area yield of oil from algae is at least 15 times greater than the next best crop, palm oil. The difficulties in

efficient biodiesel production from algae lie not in the extraction of the oil, which can be done using methods common to the food-industry such as hexane extraction, but in finding an algal strain with a high lipid content and fast growth rate that is not to difficult to harvest, and a cost-effective cultivation system that is best suited to that strain. Research into algae for the mass-production of oil is mainly focused on microalgae (which is generally referred to as organisms capable of photosynthesis that are less than two millimeters in diameter), as opposed to macroalgae (i.e., seaweed). This preference towards microalgae is due largely to its less complex structure, fast growth rate, and high oil content (for some species).

Algal cultivation
Algae can be grown in tanks, raceway-type ponds, and lakes. However, due to the fact that these systems are "open" to the elements, sometimes called "open-pond" systems, they are much more vulnerable to being invaded by other algal species and bacteria. Only a relatively small number of species have been successfully cultivated for a given purpose in an outdoor system (for example, as a food source, for oil production, or for pigments). In open systems, one does not have control over water temperature and little control over lighting conditions. In temperate climates, the growing season is limited to the warmer months. Some of the benefits of this type of system are that it is one of the cheaper methods: at the most basic, all that is needed is to dig a trench or pond. It also has one of the largest production capacities compared to other systems. A variation on the basic "open-pond" system is to close it off, by covering the pond or pool with a greenhouse. While this usually results in a smaller system for economic reasons, it resolve a number of the challenges associated with an open system. It allows the preferred species to stay dominant, and it extends the growing season (only slightly if unheated, but if heated, it can produce year round.) Algae also can be grown in polyethylene sleeves, and in a photobioreactor. A photobioreactor is basically a bioreactor that incorporates some type of light source. Because these for the most part are closed systems when used to cultivate algae, everything that the algae need to grow (carbon dioxide, nutrient-rich water, and light) must be introduced into the system. Algae can be harvested using microscreens, by centrifugation, or by flocculation.

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Algae Chapter 9. Phycology ~ The Algae


The algae (singular: alga) comprise several different groups of plant-like organisms, some of which are (and some are not) regarded as members of the Kingdom Plantae. All algae lack true leaves, roots, flowers, and other structures found in the higher plants. They are distinguished from bacteria and protozoa mainly in that they are autotrophic, obtaining energy through photosynthesis. Although no longer considered a natural group, the term algae is still used for convenience. The botanical discipline concerned with the study of algae is called Phycology (or sometimes, Algology); and the environments most phycologists (or algologists) focus on are the marine intertidal/shallow subtidal regions of the world oceans.

It is in these environments that the diversity of structurally complex algae (called seaweeds) reaches its pinnacle.

As a grouping, the algae cut across even the prokaryote/eukaryote divide: the so-called "Blue-green algae" are cyanobacteria. All other algae are eukaryotes. Green Algae (different from Blue-green algae) are considered to be the ancestors of green plants. Other kinds of algae on the other hand are distinct from green plants and from each other in having different and unrelated accessory pigments. These pigments are responsible for the ways different algae absorb light, providing advantage to each individual type of alga to compete best at a water depth where its prefered wavelength is perhaps strongest. y y

Read Phycology (article not developed yet) Read Algae

[edit] Cyanobacteria
The cyanobacteria comprise the structurally simplest algae, and presumably are closely related to the oldest photosynthetic organisms on the planet. Although capable of extracting energy from sunlight through photosynthesis, these algae are related to bacteria as evidenced by their prokaryotic cell structure. Yet, some Blue-greens have developed multicellular thalli that approach eukaryotic algal forms, and thus their traditional inclusion within the "algae."

Algae
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see Algae (disambiguation) and Alga (disambiguation). Algae

Laurencia, a marine genus of Red Algae from Hawaii.

Scientific classification Domain: Eukaryota

Included groups
y

Archaeplastida o Chlorophyta (Green algae) o Rhodophyta (Red algae) o Glaucophyta Rhizaria, Excavata o Chlorarachniophytes o Euglenids Chromista, Alveolata o Heterokonts  Bacillariophyceae (Diatoms)  Axodine  Bolidomonas  Eustigmatophyceae  Phaeophyceae (Brown algae)  Chrysophyceae (Golden algae)  Raphidophyceae  Synurophyceae  Xanthophyceae (Yellow-green algae) o Cryptophyta o Dinoflagellates o Haptophyta Excluded groups

Cyanobacteria

Plantae

The lineage of algae according to Thomas Cavalier-Smith. The exact number and placement of endosymbiotic events is not yet clear, so this diagram can be taken only as a general guide[1][2] It represents the most parsimonious way of explaining the three types of endosymbiotic origins of plastids. These types include the endosymbiotic events of cyanobacteria, red algae and green algae, leading to the hypothesis of the supergroups Archaeplastida, Chromalveolata and Cabozoa respectively. However, the monophyly of Cabozoa has been refuted and the monophylies of Archaeplastida and Chromalveolata are currently strongly challenged. Endosymbiotic events are noted by dotted lines.
Algae (pronounced / ld i / or / l i /; singular alga / l /, Latin for "seaweed") are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms. The largest and most complex marine forms are called seaweeds. They are photosynthetic, like plants, and "simple" because they lack the many distinct organs found in land plants. Though the prokaryotic Cyanobacteria (commonly referred to as blue-green algae) were traditionally included as "algae" in older textbooks, many modern sources regard this as outdated[3] as they are now considered to be closely related to bacteria.[4] The term algae is now restricted to eukaryotic organisms.[5] All true algae therefore have a nucleus enclosed within a membrane and plastids bound in one or more membranes.[3][6] Algae constitute a paraphyletic and polyphyletic group,[3] as they do not include all the descendants of the last universal ancestor nor do they all descend from a common algal ancestor, although their plastids seem to have a single origin.[1] Diatoms are also examples of algae. Algae lack the various structures that characterize land plants, such as phyllids (leaves) and rhizoids in nonvascular plants, or leaves, roots, and other organs that are found in tracheophytes (vascular plants). Many are photoautotrophic, although some groups contain

members that are mixotrophic, deriving energy both from photosynthesis and uptake of organic carbon either by osmotrophy, myzotrophy, or phagotrophy. Some unicellular species rely entirely on external energy sources and have limited or no photosynthetic apparatus. Nearly all algae have photosynthetic machinery ultimately derived from the Cyanobacteria, and so produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, unlike other photosynthetic bacteria such as purple and green sulfur bacteria. Fossilized filamentous algae from the Vindhya basin have been dated back to 1.6 to 1.7 billion years ago.[7] The first alga to have its genome sequenced was Cyanidioschyzon merolae.

Contents
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1 Etymology and study 2 Classification 3 Relationship to higher plants 4 Morphology 5 Symbiotic algae o 5.1 Lichens o 5.2 Coral reefs o 5.3 Sea sponges 6 Life-cycle 7 Numbers 8 Distribution 9 Locations 10 Uses o 10.1 Agar o 10.2 Alginates o 10.3 Energy source o 10.4 Fertilizer o 10.5 Nutrition o 10.6 Pollution control o 10.7 Pigments o 10.8 Stabilizing substances 11 See also 12 Notes 13 Bibliography o 13.1 General o 13.2 Regional 14 External links

[edit] Etymology and study

Title page of Samuel Gottlieb Gmelin, Historia Fucorum, dated 1768.


The singular alga is the Latin word for a particular seaweed and retains that meaning in English.[8] The etymology is obscure. Although some speculate that it is related to Latin alg re, "be cold",[9] there is no known reason to associate seaweed with temperature. A more likely source is alliga, "binding, entwining."[10] Since Algae has become a biological classification, alga can also mean one classification under Algae, parallel to a fungus being a species of fungi, a plant being a species of plant, and so on. The ancient Greek word for seaweed was (f kos or phykos), which could mean either the seaweed, probably Red Algae, or a red dye derived from it. The Latinization, f cus, meant primarily the cosmetic rouge. The etymology is uncertain, but a strong candidate has long been some word related to the Biblical (p k), "paint" (if not that word itself), a cosmetic eye-shadow used by the ancient Egyptians and other inhabitants of the eastern Mediterranean. It could be any color: black, red, green, blue.[11] Accordingly the modern study of marine and freshwater algae is called either phycology or algology. The name Fucus appears in a number of taxa.

[edit] Classification

False-colour Scanning electron micrograph of the unicellular coccolithophore, Gephyrocapsa oceanica.


While Cyanobacteria have been traditionally included among the Algae, recent works usually exclude them due to large differences such as the lack of membrane-bound organelles, the presence of a single circular chromosome, the presence of peptidoglycan in the cell walls, and ribosomes different in size and content from those of the Eukaryotes.[12][13] Rather than in chloroplasts, they conduct photosynthesis on specialized infolded cytoplasmic membranes called thylakoid membranes. Therefore, they differ significantly from the Algae despite occupying similar ecological niches. By modern definitions Algae are Eukaryotes and conduct photosynthesis within membranebound organelles called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain circular DNA and are similar in structure to Cyanobacteria, presumably representing reduced cyanobacterial endosymbionts. The exact nature of the chloroplasts is different among the different lines of Algae, reflecting different endosymbiotic events. The table below describes the composition of the three major groups of Algae. Their lineage relationships are shown in the figure in the upper right. Many of these groups contain some members that are no longer photosynthetic. Some retain plastids, but not chloroplasts, while others have lost plastids entirely. Phylogeny based on plastid.[14] not nucleocytoplasmic genealogy: Cyanobacteria Cyanelles

Rhodoplasts

Chloroplasts

Rhodophytes Heterokonts Cryptophytes Haptophytes Euglenophytes Chlorophytes

Higher plants (Embryophyta) Chlorarachniophytes

Supergroup affiliation

Members

Endosymbiont

Summary

Primoplantae/ Archaeplastida

y y y

Chlorophyta Rhodophyta Glaucophyta

These Algae have primary chloroplasts, i.e. the chloroplasts are surrounded by two membranes and probably developed through a single endosymbiotic event. The chloroplasts of Red Algae have chlorophylls a and c (often), and phycobilins, while those of Cyanobacteria Green Algae have chloroplasts with chlorophyll a and b. Higher plants are pigmented similarly to Green Algae and probably developed from them, and thus Chlorophyta is a sister taxon to the plants; sometimes they are grouped as Viridiplantae.
These groups have green chloroplasts containing chlorophylls a and b.[12] Their chloroplasts are surrounded by four and three membranes, respectively, and were probably retained from ingested Green Algae. Chlorarachniophytes, which belong to the phylum Cercozoa, contain a small nucleomorph, which is a relict of the algae's nucleus. Euglenids, which belong to the phylum Euglenozoa, live primarily in freshwater and have chloroplasts with only three membranes. It has been suggested that the endosymbiotic Green Algae were acquired through myzocytosis rather than phagocytosis.

Excavata and Rhizaria

y y

Chlorarachniophytes Euglenids

Green Algae

Chromista and Alveolata

y y y

Heterokonts Haptophyta Cryptomonads

Red Algae

These groups have chloroplasts containing chlorophylls a and d, and phycobilins. The latter

Dinoflagellates

chlorophyll type is not known from any prokaryotes or primary chloroplasts, but genetic similarities with the Red Algae suggest a relationship there. In the first three of these groups (Chromista), the chloroplast has four membranes, retaining a nucleomorph in Cryptomonads, and they likely share a common pigmented ancestor, although other evidence casts doubt on whether the Heterokonts, Haptophyta, and Cryptomonads are in fact more closely related to each other than to other groups.[2][15] The typical dinoflagellate chloroplast has three membranes, but there is considerable diversity in chloroplasts within the group, and it appears there were a number of endosymbiotic events.[1] The Apicomplexa, a group of closely related parasites, also have plastids called apicoplasts. Apicoplasts are not photosynthetic but appear to have a common origin with Dinoflagellate chloroplasts.[1]

W.H.Harvey (18111866) was the first to divide the Algae into four divisions based on their pigmentation. This is the first use of a biochemical criterion in plant systematics. Harvey's four divisions are: Red Algae (Rhodophyta), Brown Algae (Heteromontophyta), Green Algae (Chlorophyta) and Diatomaceae.[16]

[edit] Relationship to higher plants


The first plants on earth evolved from shallow freshwater algae much like Chara some 400 million years ago. These probably had an isomorphic alternation of generations and were probably filamentous. Fossils of isolated land plant spores suggest land plants may have been around as long as 475 million years ago.[17][18]

[edit] Morphology

The kelp forest exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A three-dimensional, multicellular thallus.
A range of algal morphologies are exhibited, and convergence of features in unrelated groups is common. The only groups to exhibit three dimensional multicellular thalli are the reds and browns, and some chlorophytes.[19] Apical growth is constrained to subsets of these groups: the florideophyte reds, various browns, and the charophytes.[19] The form of charophytes is quite different to those of reds and browns, because have distinct nodes, separated by internode 'stems'; whorls of branches reminiscent of the horsetails occur at the nodes.[19] Conceptacles are another polyphyletic trait; they appear in the coralline algae and the Hildenbrandiales, as well as the browns.[19] Most of the simpler algae are unicellular flagellates or amoeboids, but colonial and nonmotile forms have developed independently among several of the groups. Some of the more common organizational levels, more than one of which may occur in the life cycle of a species, are y y y y y y

Colonial: small, regular groups of motile cells Capsoid: individual non-motile cells embedded in mucilage Coccoid: individual non-motile cells with cell walls Palmelloid: non-motile cells embedded in mucilage Filamentous: a string of non-motile cells connected together, sometimes branching Parenchymatous: cells forming a thallus with partial differentiation of tissues

In three lines even higher levels of organization have been reached, with full tissue differentiation. These are the brown algae,[20]some of which may reach 50 m in length

(kelps)[21]the red algae,[22] and the green algae.[23] The most complex forms are found among the green algae (see Charales and Charophyta), in a lineage that eventually led to the higher land plants. The point where these non-algal plants begin and algae stop is usually taken to be the presence of reproductive organs with protective cell layers, a characteristic not found in the other alga groups.

[edit] Symbiotic algae


Some species of algae form symbiotic relationships with other organisms. In these symbioses, the algae supply photosynthates (organic substances) to the host organism providing protection to the algal cells. The host organism derives some or all of its energy requirements from the algae. Examples are as follows.

[edit] Lichens
Main article: Lichens

Rock lichens in Ireland.


Lichens are defined by the International Association for Lichenology to be "an association of a fungus and a photosynthetic symbiont resulting in a stable vegetative body having a specific structure."[24] The fungi, or mycobionts, are from the Ascomycota with a few from the Basidiomycota. They are not found alone in nature but when they began to associate is not known.[25] One mycobiont associates with the same phycobiont species, rarely two, from the Green Algae, except that alternatively the mycobiont may associate with the same species of Cyanobacteria (hence "photobiont" is the more accurate term). A photobiont may be associated with many specific mycobionts or live independently; accordingly, lichens are named and classified as fungal species.[26] The association is termed a morphogenesis because the lichen has a form and capabilities not possessed by the symbiont species alone (they can be experimentally isolated). It is possible that the photobiont triggers otherwise latent genes in the mycobiont.[27]

[edit] Coral reefs


Main articles: Coral, Coral reef, and Zooxanthella

Floridian coral reef


Coral reefs are accumulated from the calcareous exoskeletons of marine invertebrates of the Scleractinia order; i.e., the Stony Corals. As animals they metabolize sugar and oxygen to obtain energy for their cell-building processes, including secretion of the exoskeleton, with water and carbon dioxide as byproducts. As the reef is the result of a favorable equilibrium between construction by the corals and destruction by marine erosion, the rate at which metabolism can proceed determines the growth or deterioration of the reef. Algae of the Dinoflagellate phylum are often endosymbionts in the cells of marine invertebrates, where they accelerate host-cell metabolism by generating immediately available sugar and oxygen through photosynthesis using incident light and the carbon dioxide produced in the host. Endosymbiont algae in the Stony Corals are described by the term zooxanthellae, with the host Stony Corals called on that account hermatypic corals, which although not a taxon are not in healthy condition without their endosymbionts. Zooxanthellae belong almost entirely to the genus Symbiodinium.[28] The loss of Symbiodinium from the host is known as coral bleaching, a condition which unless corrected leads to the deterioration and loss of the reef.

[edit] Sea sponges


Main article: Sea sponge
Green Algae live close to the surface of some sponges, for example, breadcrumb sponge (Halichondria panicea). The alga is thus protected from predators; the sponge is provided with oxygen and sugars which can account for 50 to 80% of sponge growth in some species.[29]

[edit] Life-cycle
Rhodophyta, Chlorophyta and Heterokontophyta, the three main algal Phyla, have lifecycles which show tremendous variation with considerable complexity. In general there is an asexual phase where the seaweed's cells are diploid, a sexual phase where the cells are haploid followed by fusion of the male and female gametes. Asexual reproduction is advantageous in that it permits efficient population increases, but less variation is possible. Sexual reproduction allows more variation, but is more costly. Often there is no strict alternation between the sporophyte and also because there is often an asexual phase, which could include the fragmentation of the thallus.[21][30][31]

For more details on this topic, see Conceptacle.

[edit] Numbers

Algae on coastal rocks at Shihtiping in Taiwan


The Algal Collection of the U.S. National Herbarium (located in the National Museum of Natural History) consists of approximately 320500 dried specimens, which, although not exhaustive (no exhaustive collection exists), gives an idea of the order of magnitude of the number of algal species (that number remains unknown).[32] Estimates vary widely. For example, according to one standard textbook,[33] in the British Isles the UK Biodiversity Steering Group Report estimated there to be 20000 algal species in the UK. Another checklist reports only about 5000 species. Regarding the difference of about 15000 species, the text concludes: "It will require many detailed field surveys before it is possible to provide a reliable estimate of the total number of species ...." Regional and group estimates have been made as well: 50005500 species of Red Algae worldwide, "some 1300 in Australian Seas,"[34] 400 seaweed species for the western coastline of South Africa,[35] 669 marine species from California (U.S.A.),[36] 642 in the check-list of Britain and Ireland,[37] and so on, but lacking any scientific basis or reliable sources, these numbers have no more credibility than the British ones mentioned above. Most estimates also omit the microscopic Algae, such as the phytoplankta, entirely.

[edit] Distribution
The topic of distribution of algal species has been fairly well studied since the founding of phytogeography in the mid-19th century AD.[38] Algae spread mainly by the dispersal of spores analogously to the dispersal of Plantae by seeds and spores. Spores are everywhere in all parts of the Earth: the waters fresh and marine, the atmosphere, free-floating and in precipitation or mixed with dust, the humus and in other organisms, such as humans. Whether a spore is to grow into an organism depends on the combination of the species and the environmental conditions. The spores of fresh-water Algae are dispersed mainly by running water and wind, as well as by living carriers.[39] The bodies of water into which they are transported are chemically selective. Marine spores are spread by currents. Ocean water is temperature selective, resulting in phytogeographic zones, regions and provinces.[40]

To some degree the distribution of Algae is subject to floristic discontinuities caused by geographical features, such as Antarctica, long distances of ocean or general land masses. It is therefore possible to identify species occurring by locality, such as "Pacific Algae" or "North Sea Algae". When they occur out of their localities, it is usually possible to hypothesize a transport mechanism, such as the hulls of ships. For example, Ulva reticulata and Ulva fasciata travelled from the mainland to Hawaii in this manner. Mapping is possible for select species only: "there are many valid examples of confined distribution patterns."[41] For example, Clathromorphum is an arctic genus and is not mapped far south of there.[42] On the other hand, scientists regard the overall data as insufficient due to the "difficulties of undertaking such studies."[43]

[edit] Locations

Phytoplankton, Lake Chuzenji


Algae are prominent in bodies of water, common in terrestrial environments and are found in unusual environments, such as on snow and on ice. Seaweeds grow mostly in shallow marine waters, under 100 metres (330 ft); however some have been recorded to a depth of 360 metres (1,180 ft)[44] The various sorts of algae play significant roles in aquatic ecology. Microscopic forms that live suspended in the water column (phytoplankton) provide the food base for most marine food chains. In very high densities (algal blooms) these algae may discolor the water and outcompete, poison, or asphyxiate other life forms. Algae are variously sensitive to different factors, which has made them useful as biological indicators in the Ballantine Scale and its modification.

[edit] Uses

Harvesting Algae

[edit] Agar
Agar, an Algae derivative, has a number of commercial uses.[45]

[edit] Alginates
Between 100,000 and 170,000 wet tons of Macrocystis are harvested annually in California for alginate extraction and abalone feed.[46][47]

[edit] Energy source


To be competitive and independent from fluctuating support from (local) policy on the long run, biofuels should equal or beat the cost level of fossil fuels. Here, algae based fuels hold great promise, directly related to the potential to produce more biomass per unit area in a year than any other form of biomass. The break-even point for algae-based biofuels should be within reach in about ten years.[citation needed]

Main articles: Algae fuel, Biological hydrogen production, Biohydrogen, Biodiesel, Ethanol fuel, Butanol fuel, and Vegetable fats and oils

[edit] Fertilizer

Seaweed is used as a fertilizer. For more details on this topic, see Seaweed fertiliser.
For centuries seaweed has been used as a fertilizer; George Owen of Henllys writing in the 16th century referring to drift weed in South Wales:[48] This kind of ore they often gather and lay on great heapes, where it heteth and rotteth, and will have a strong and loathsome smell; when being so rotten they cast on the land, as they do their muck, and thereof springeth good corn, especially barley ... After spring-tydes or great rigs of the sea, they fetch it in sacks on horse backes, and carie the same three, four, or five miles, and cast it on the lande, which doth very much better the ground for corn and grass. Today Algae are used by humans in many ways; for example, as fertilizers, soil conditioners and livestock feed.[49] Aquatic and microscopic species are cultured in clear tanks or ponds and are either harvested or used to treat effluents pumped through the ponds. Algaculture on a large scale is an important type of aquaculture in some places. Maerl is commonly used as a soil conditioner.

[edit] Nutrition

Seaweed gardens on Inisheer. See also: Edible seaweed


Naturally growing seaweeds are an important source of food, especially in Asia. They provide many vitamins including: A, B1, B2, B6, niacin and C, and are rich in iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium.[50] In addition commercially cultivated microalgae, including both Algae and Cyanobacteria, are marketed as nutritional supplements, such as Spirulina,[51] Chlorella and the Vitamin-C supplement, Dunaliella, high in beta-carotene. Algae are national foods of many nations: China consumes more than 70 species, including fat choy, a cyanobacterium considered a vegetable; Japan, over 20 species;[52] Ireland, dulse; Chile, cochayuyo.[53] Laver is used to make "laver bread" in Wales where it is known

as bara lawr; in Korea, gim; in Japan, nori and aonori. It is also used along the west coast of North America from California to British Columbia, in Hawaii and by the M ori of New Zealand. Sea lettuce and badderlocks are a salad ingredient in Scotland, Ireland, Greenland and Iceland.

Dulse, a food.
The oils from some Algae have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids. For example, Parietochloris incisa is very high in arachidonic acid, where it reaches up to 47% of the triglyceride pool.[54] Some varieties of Algae favored by vegetarianism and veganism contain the long-chain, essential omega-3 fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in addition to vitamin B12.[citation needed] The vitamin B12 in algae is not biologically active. Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids, but the original source is algae (microalgae in particular), which are eaten by marine life such as copepods and are passed up the food chain.[55] Algae has emerged in recent years as a popular source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians who cannot get long-chain EPA and DHA from other vegetarian sources such as flaxseed oil, which only contains the short-chain Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA).

[edit] Pollution control


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Sewage can be treated with algae, reducing the need for greater amounts of toxic chemicals than are already used. Algae can be used to capture fertilizers in runoff from farms. When subsequently harvested, the enriched algae itself can be used as fertilizer.

[edit] Pigments
The natural pigments produced by algae can be used as an alternative to chemical dyes and coloring agents.[56]

[edit] Stabilizing substances


Carrageenan, from the red alga Chondrus crispus, is used as a stabiliser in milk products.

Main articles: Carrageenan and Chondrus crispus

Protista - Algae
Ads by Google Algae Oil Extraction High lipid recovery for biofuels Leaders in fractionation technology www.solutionrecovery.com/algae Evolution Or Else New book describes the practical implications of evolution theory. www.LivingWithEvolution.com Free Algae Co's Database 50+ companies profiles 1000+ interactive comparison views www.thegreentrackers.com Colon Cleansing Naturally Constipation, Bloated, Slimming Weight Loss, Healthy colon www.omnidefood.com The plant-like protists, or algae, are all photosynthetic autotrophs. These organisms form the base of many food chains. Other creatures depend on these protists either directly for food or indirectly for the oxygen they produce. Algae are responsible for over half of the oxygen produced by photosynthesizing organisms. Many forms of algae look like plants, but they differ in many ways. Algae do not have roots, stems, or leaves. They do not have the waxy cuticle plants have to prevent water loss. As a result, algae must live in areas where water is readily available. Algae do not have multicellular gametangia as the plants do. They contain chlorophyll, but also contain other photosynthetic pigments. These pigments give the algae

characteristic colors and are used to classify algae into various phyla. Other characteristics used to classify algae are energy reserve storage and cell wall composition. Members of the phylum Euglenophyta are known as euglenoids. These organisms are both autotrophic as well as heterotrophic. There are hundreds of species of euglenoids. Euglenoids are unicellular and share properties of both plants and animals. They are plant-like in that they contain chlorophyll and are capable of photosynthesis. They do not have a cell wall of cellulose, as do plants; instead, they have a pellicle made of protein. Euglenoids are like animals in that they are motile and responsive to outside stimuli. One particular species, Euglena, has a structure called an eyespot. This is an area of red pigments that is sensitive to light. An Euglena can respond to its environment by moving towards areas of bright light, where photosynthesis best occurs. In conditions where light is not available for photosynthesis, euglenoids can be heterotrophic and ingest their food. Euglenoids store their energy as paramylon, a type of polysaccharide. Members of the phylum Bacillariophyta are called diatoms. Diatoms are unicellular organisms with silica shells. They are autotrophs and can live in marine or freshwater environments. They contain chlorophyll as well as pigments called carotenoids, which give them an orange-yellow color. Their shells resemble small boxes with lids. These shells are covered with grooves and pores, giving them a decorated appearance. Diatoms can be either radially or bilaterally symmetrical. Diatoms reproduce asexually in a very unique manner. The two halves of the shell separate, each producing a new shell that fits inside the original half. Each new generation, therefore, produces offspring that are smaller than the parent. As each generation gets smaller and smaller, a lower limit is reached, approximately one quarter the original size. At this point, the diatom produces gametes that fuse with gametes from other diatoms to produce zygotes. The zygotes develop into full sized diatoms that can begin asexual reproduction once more. When diatoms die, their shells fall to the bottom of the ocean and form deposits called diatomaceous earth. These deposits can be collected and used as abrasives, or used as an additive to give certain paints their sparkle. Diatoms store their energy as oils or carbohydrates. Ads by Google Chlorophyll Fluorometers Hand-held, low cost, detect plant &

crop nutrient, heat, & water stress www.OptiSci.com Questions About Fuel? Find the Right Answers! Contact Algae-X Today 877 425 4239 www.algae-x.net/FuelFAQ Stem Cell Nutrition Support the release of your own Stem Cells NaturalStemCellNutrition.com Global CO2 Reset First Int Sci Project AgroChallenge Conference Sep 6 - 10. 2010, Sweden www.agrochall.gl The dinoflagellates are members of the phylum Dinoflagellata. These organisms are unicellular autotrophs. Their cell walls contain cellulose, creating thick, protective plates. These plates contain two grooves at right angles to each other, each groove containing one flagellum. When the two flagella beat together, they cause the organism to spin through the water. Most dinoflagellates are marine organisms, although some have been found in freshwater environments. Dinoflagellates contain chlorophyll as well as carotenoids and red pigments. They can be free-living, or live in symbiotic relationships with jellyfish or corals. Some of the freeliving dinoflagellates are bioluminescent. Many dinoflagellates produce strong toxins. One species in particular, Gonyaulax catanella, produces a lethal nerve toxin. These organisms sometimes reproduce in huge amounts in the summertime, causing a red tide. There are so many of these organisms present during a red tide that the ocean actually appears red. When this occurs, the toxins that are released reach such high concentrations in the ocean that many fish are killed. Dinoflagellates store their energy as oils or polysaccharides.

The phylum Rhodophyta consists of the red algae. All of the 4,000 species in this phylum are multicellular (with the exception of a few unicellular species) and live in marine environments. Red algae are typically found in tropical waters and sometimes along the coasts in cooler areas. They live attached to rocks by a structure called a holdfast. Their cell walls contain thick polysaccharides. Some species incorporate calcium carbonate from the ocean into their cell walls as well. Red algae contain chlorophyll as well as phycobilins, red and blue pigments involved in photosynthesis. The red pigment is called phycoerythrin and the blue pigment is called phycocyanin. Phycobilins absorb the green, violet, and blue light waves that can penetrate deep water. These pigments allow the red algae to photosynthesize in deep water with little light available. Reproduction in these organisms is a complex alternation between sexual and asexual phases. Red algae store their energy as floridean starch. The 1,500 species of brown algae are the members of the phylum Phaeophyta. The majority of the brown algae live in marine environments, on rocks in cool waters. They contain chlorophyll as well as a yellow-brown carotenoid called fucoxanthin. The largest of the brown algae are the kelp. The kelp use holdfasts to attach to rocks. The body of a kelp is called a thallus, which can grow as long as 180 ft (60 m). The thallus is composed of three sections, the holdfast, the stipe, and the blade. Some species of brown algae have an air bladder to keep the thallus floating at the surface of the water, where more light is available for photosynthesis. Brown algae store their energy as laminarin, a carbohydrate. The phylum Chlorophyta is known as the green algae. This phylum is the most diverse of all the algae, with greater than 7,000 species. The green algae contain chlorophyll as their main pigment. Most live in fresh water, although some marine species exist. Their cell walls are composed of cellulose, which indicates the green algae may be the ancestors of modern plants. Green algae can be unicellular, colonial, or multicellular. An example of a unicellular green alga is Chlamydomonas. An example of a colonial algae is Volvox. A Volvox colony is a hollow sphere of thousands of individual cells. Each cell has a single flagellum that faces the exterior of the sphere. The individual cells beat their flagella in a coordinated fashion, allowing the colony to move. Daughter colonies form inside the sphere, growing until they reach a certain size and are released when the parent colony breaks open. Spirogyra and Ulva are both examples of

multicellular green algae. Reproduction in the green algae can be both sexual and asexual. Green algae store their energy as starch. Ads by Google Enter Trillion $ NextGen Biofuel Business.Learn from leaders Book your seat under early bird NOW www.growdieselevent.com Diesel Algae problems? Remove particles. Separates fuel oil and water. Up to 2000 GPH. www.cjc.dk/fuel_water_separator/ Algae Free Manuals and Support Information about Algae www.FixYa.com/Algae Biodiesel Plant Design Plant Process Design Services via experienced Chemical Engineers www.ProcessEngr.com

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