Algae: General Characteristics and Classification with examples

Algae: General Characteristics and Classification with examples


General Characteristics of Algae:

1. They have undifferentiated body shape that is their body is 

thalloid.

2. They have chlorophyll pigment which gives them green appearance.

3. They are autotrophic.

4. They are photophilic.

5. They possess both prokaryotic and eukaryotic nature of cell 

structure.

6. They contains true parenchymatous tissue.

7. They have cell wall which is made up of cellulose.

8. Reserve food material in them is starch.

9. They comprises a large heterogeneous assemblage of relatively 

simple plants.

10. They have both sexual and asexual reproductive organs.

11. They are mostly unicellular or when multicellular all cells are 

fertile.

12. They reproduces sexually by isogamy, anisogamy, or oogamy 

and asexually by zoospores, aplanospores, akinetes, etc.

13. Examples of algae are: Chlamydomonas, Spirogyra, chara, etc.

Classification of algae:

According to Fritsch algae are classified into 11 classes. These are 

written in the book named ‘Phycology’ and are discussed below:

Class I – Chlorophyceae:

These are also called green algae. They have chlorophyll a & b, xanthophyll and carotene as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is starch. Example: Chlamydonomas.

Class II – Xanthophyceae:

These are also called yellow-green algae. They have chlorophyll a & e, beta-carotene as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is oil, fats and cellulose. Example: Botrydium.

Class III – Chrysophyceae:

These are also called golden algae. They have chlorophyll a & b, carotenoid and phycochrysin as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is chrysolaminanin and leucosin. Example: Paraphysomonas.

Class IV – Bacillariophyceae:

These are also called yellow or golden-brown algae. They have chlorophyll a & c and carotene as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is volutin and fat. Example: Diatoms.

Class V – Cryptophyceae:

They have chlorophyll a & c, carotene and xanthophyll as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is starch and oil. Example: Cryptonomas.

Class VI – Chloromonadiaeae:

They have chlorophyll a & b, carotene and xanthophylls as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is fat and oil. Example: Tentonia.

Class VII – Dinophyceae:

They have chlorophyll a & c, carotene and xanthophylls as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is starch and oil. Example: Desmocapsa.

Class VIII – Euglenophyceae:

They have chlorophyll a & b as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is fat and paramylon. Example: Euglena.

Class IX – Phaeophyceae:

These are also called brown algae. They have chlorophyll-a and xanthophyll as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is laminarin, fats. Example: Ectocarpus.

Class X – Rhodophyceae:

These are also called red algae. They have chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin and phycoerythrin as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is floridean starch. Example: Polysiphonia.

Class XI – Myxophyceae:

These are also called cyanophyceae or blue-green algae. They have chlorophyll-a, carotene and phycocyanin as their pigment. Reserve food material in them is starch, cyanophycean. Example: Nostoc, Anabaena, etc.

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