“The life of the planet began the long, slow process of modulating and regulating the physical conditions of the planet. The oxygen in today’s atmosphere is almost entirely the result of photosynthetic living, which had its start with the appearance of blue-green algae among the microorganisms”
Lewis Thomas, 1984
What are algae?
Algae is a group of chlorophyll containing thalloid plants which bear unicellular or multicellular sex organs and the sex organs are NOT protected in the sterile jacket cells. An undifferentiated plant body is known as ‘thallus’. In thalloid plants, there is no differentiation of plant body into true roots, stem and leaves.
The study of algae is known as PHYCOLOGY. The one who study algae is called Phycologist
General characters of algae
Ø Thalloid plant body
Ø In Eichler’s system of classification, algae are placed in the Division Thallophyta along with Fungi and Lichens.
Ø Algae are autotrophs (synthesize food using light energy)
Ø Algae differ from fungi in:
⊕. Presence of photosynthetic pigment – chlorophyll
⊕. Mode of nutrition (autotrophs)
Ø Majority of algae are in aquatic habitat (fresh water or marine), some algae are terrestrial also
Ø Algae are present in all parts of the world including Arctic and Antarctic regions (universal occurrence)
Ø Sex organs are unicellular or multicellularContinue reading