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What are Algae?

Algae are eukaryotic organisms that have no roots, stems, or leaves but do have
chlorophyll and other pigments for carrying out photosynthesis. Algae can be
multicellular or unicellular. In a specific definition, algae are aquatic photosynthetic

Growth modes of Algae

Autotrophic growth algae can grow by converting sunlight, CO2 , and a few
nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorous, into material known as biomass.
Heterotrophic growth algae that can grow in the dark using sugar or starch.
Mixotrophic growth algae that can combine both autotrophic and heterotrophic

Characteristics of Algae
1. Environment is aquatic
- marine or freshwater
- only restricted by amount of light
2. Little or no tissue differentiation
- mostly in reproductive cells
3. Diversity of photosynthetic pigments
- All have chlorophyll
other pigments include:
a) chlorophylls b, c, d
b) carotenoids (carotene, fucoxanthin, xanthophyll)
c) biliproteins (phycoerythrin, phycocyanin)
4. Many unicellular species have flagella
- most unicellular forms have flagella: one or two
- big exception is the red algae (none)
5. Diversity of cell wall structures
- most have cellulose
- common additions into structure: SiO2, CaCO3
- some lack cell wall
6. Variation in reproductive methods - asexual of two forms: cell division &
- Sexual with variation in gamete types:
a) isogamous - male & female sex cells identical
b) anisogamous - different sizes, male smaller
c) oogamous - female large & nonmotile = EGG
male small & motile = SPERM

Groups of Algae

Algae were group according to its pigments present, cell wall structure and
carbohydrate storage molecule.
Groups are:
Division Chlorophyta (green algae)
Division Chromophyta (golden-brown, diatoms, and brown algae)
Division Rhodophyta (red algae)
Division Euglenophyta (euglenoids)
Division Dinophyta (dinoflagellates)
Three of the groups may be considered plants (not protistans) by some: green, red &
brown algae.

Division Chlorophyta (Green Algae)

- unicellular with 2 flagella
- isogamous
- common in small ponds
- Hollow colonies of many cells, each with 2 flagella
- Oogamous
- filamentous, no flagella
- slimy texture
- isogamous and haplonitic
- common in ponds and pools

Division Rhodophyta (Red Algae)

- Grows and can become quite large
- Commonly are separate male and female plants
- grows and eventually produce carposporangia as a result of mitosis
- Develop as separate thalli ("a green shoot" or "twig")

Division Chromophyta (yellow-green, golden-brown, brown and

Four distinct groups in this division:

1. Xanthophyceae
Yellow-green algae
Have chlorophylls a and c but lack of fucoxanthin (type of xanthophyll)
Most species are in freshwater
2. Chrysophaceae
Golden-brown algae or chrysophytes
Lack of distinct cell wall, have two flagella or unequal lengths
Important part of freshwater and marine plankton
3. Bacillariophyceae
Most important groups of this division, especially in cooler oceans
4. Phaephyceae
Brown algae
Produce the largest of the algae kelp can be over 100 meters long

Division Euglenophyta (Euglenoids)

Common freshwater algae that can produce dense colonies (blooms) in high nutrient
areas (barnyard ponds, sewage treatment lagoons)
Numerous species have a gullet, which allows for ingestion of food hence there are
heterotrophic; only about a third have the ability for photosynthesis.

Division Dinophyta (dinoflagillates)

General Characteristics
Having two flagella
Many species are bioluminescent, produce light when disturbed
Numerous species produce toxins that are released into the water
- Can give water a yellow to red coloration if concentrated (Red tide, with
up to 150million cells/liter)

In general, protozoa are referred to as animal-like protists because of movement
(motility). However, both protozoa and protists are paraphyletic groups. For example,
Entamoeba is more closely related to humans than to Euglena. "Protozoa" is

considered an outdated classification in more formal contexts. However, the term is

still used in children's education.

Some Types of Protozoa


The amoeba is one of the simplest of the protozoa. It can be found in ponds and
rivers and on the surface of the leaves of water plants. It looks like a grayish blob
under a microscope. Its shape is constantly changing as it moves along.

They move using their pseudopods

By binary fission
Takes place by diffusion of gases
through the cell membrane
Arcella, transparent dome for protection

Amoeba proteus (common amoeba)
Entamoeba histolytica (causes amoebic dysentery)
Radiolarians (internal glass-like skeletons)
Foraminifera (large shelled amoeboid)

Paramecium (Ciliates)
The paramecium is larger than the ameba. It can be found in ponds with scum on
them. It has more of a shape than an ameba, looking like the bottom of a shoe. It is

covered with tiny hairs that help it move. These hairs are called cilia. The
paramecium is able to move in all directions with its cilia.

Moves forward and backward

Reproduce asexually by binary fission
Can be anaerobic or aerobic
Trichocyst, many tiny carrot shaped

Paramecium (paramecium caudatum)
Stentor (Stentor coeruleus)

These are the parasitic protozoa which have a spore producing infective stage.
These spores, called sporozoites, are characteristic of Plasmodium, the blood
parasite that causes malaria.


Plasmodium vivax (causes malaria)
Monocystis agilis

Have no physical form of movement,

moved by the currents of the blood or
other fluid of their hosts
Sexually and asexually
Being protected by the antibodies of the
host (like Plasmodium vivax inside the
red blood cells

The euglena is different than other protozoans because it has chlorophyll in it, the
substance that plants contain to make their own food. The euglena is then able to
make its own food like a plant when it is in the sunlight. When it is in darkness,
however, it can get food like an animal. It takes in tiny plants and animals much like
the amoeba and paramecium.

A flagellate is a cell or organism with one or more whip-like organelles called flagella.
The word flagellate also describes a particular construction characteristic of many
protists and their means of motion.


They move with the use of flagella

They get their nutrients by eating other
organisms or by absorbing food
molecules through cell membrane
Releases a poisonous substance that
attacks the nervous system (members
of the Trypanosoma Genus)

Trypanosoma gambiense (sleeping sickness)