Algae is a diverse group of aquatic organisms that have the ability to conduct photosynthesis. They require a moist or watery environment; hence, they are ubiquitous near or inside water bodies. Anatomically, they are similar to another major group of photosynthetic organisms – the land plants. However, that is where the differences end as algae lack many structural components typically present in plants, such as true stems, shoots, and leaves. Furthermore, they also do not have vascular tissues to circulate essential nutrients and water throughout their body.
Characteristics of Algae
Specific general characteristics of seaweed are common to plants as well as animals. It can photosynthesize like plants, and they possess specialized structures and cell-organelles, like centrioles and flagella, found only in animals. Listed below are some of the general characteristics of seaweed.
- They are photosynthetic organisms.
- It can be either unicellular or multicellular organisms.
- They don’t have structures like roots, stems, or leaves.
- It founds where there is adequate moisture.
- Reproduction occurs in both asexual and sexual forms. Asexual reproduction occurs by spore formation.
- They are free-living organisms, although some can form a symbiotic relationship with other organisms.
Examples of Algae
Types of Algae
- Red Algae: It also called Rhodophyta, it is a distinctive species found in marine as well as freshwater ecosystems. The pigments phycocyanin and phycoerythrin are responsible for the characteristic red coloration of the seaweed. Other pigments that provide green coloration (such as chlorophyll-a) are present. However, they lack chlorophyll b or beta-carotene.
- Green Algae: It is a large, informal grouping of seaweed having the primary photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll a and b, along with auxiliary pigments such as xanthophylls and beta carotene. Higher organisms use green seaweed to conduct photosynthesis. Other species of green algae have a symbiotic relationship with other organisms.