Algae, Biology tutorial

Introduction:

Algae that is, singular alga are a big and diverse group of photosynthetic, eukaryotic, plant-like organisms which employ chlorophyll in capturing the light energy, however lack feature plant structures like roots, leaves, flowers, vascular tissue and seeds. The study of algae is termed as algology or phycology.

Algae range from single-celled to multi-cellular organisms, some by fairly complex differentiated form and, when marine, termed as seaweeds. Several of the single-celled organisms might be as small as one micro-meter. Multi-cellular algae might comprise of a row of cells, seem as a filament or as a thin plate of cells, or even some bigger ones might encompass bodies having a rudimentary division of labor. The multi-cellular huge kelp reaches 60 meters in length. Sea-weeds themselves encompass numerous forms, comprising those that appear as when terrestrial plants having leaves and stems, looking similar to moss, mushrooms, leaf lettuce and even palm trees.

Algae are basically Cryptogams. Cryptogams are seedless, flowerless plants. They form three major groups.

a) Thallophyta: fungi, algae and lichens.

b) Bryophyta: Liver worts example: marchantia and mosses

c) Pteridrophyta: ferns example: Dryopteris.

General features of Algae:

a) They are simple plants with no roots, leaves and stems.

b) All algae encompass chlorophyll. A few encompass blue, brown, yellow and red pigments which facade the chlorophyll.

c) Most of the algae are non-cellular whereas a few are multi-cellular.

d) They are mostly aquatic, with some on damp soils and shady places.

e) The alga body is comprised of a true parenchymatous tissue.

f) The alga cell wall is comprised of true cellulose.

g) Reserve carbohydrate is generally starch and not glycogen as in the fungi.

Forms of algae:

Most of the general algae are unicellular flagellates or amoeboid, however colonial and non-motile forms have built up independently among some of the groups. Some of the more general organizational levels, more than one of which might take place in the life cycle of a species are as follows:

Colonial: Small, regular groups of the motile cells.

Capsoid: Individual non-motile cells embed in the mucilage.

Coccoid: Individual non-motile cells having cell walls.

Palmelloid: Non-motile cells embed in the mucilage.

Filamentous: A string of non-motile cells joined altogether, at times branching.

Parenchymatous: Cells making a thallus having partial differentiation of the tissues.

Red Algae:

It is as well termed as rhodophyta, these were the foremost eukaryotic organisms on the planet, and their signatures have been found in rocks about 2-billion years old. They are generally marine organisms and comprise various types of seaweed and also a number of single-celled species. The red color of the red algae comes from the phycoerythrin and phycocyanin pigments, which they employ for photosynthesis.

Brown Algae:

The scientific name for Brown algae is chromista. This is a very diverse group, ranging from diatoms single cell microscopic form to kelp seaweeds big, multi-cellular organisms. They encompass a pigment named fucoxanthin which is responsible for the brown color of these organisms and is used to photosynthesize.

Cyanobacteria:

Nowadays, such microorganisms are considered to be bacteria; though, they are still at times named to by their old name, 'blue-green algae'. Cyanobacteria are an earliest group and might have been the initial organisms to employ photosynthesis.

Algal Blooms:

From time to time, in particular locations, a species of alga might undergo a population explosion, resultant in what is termed as an 'algal bloom'. These can take place on coastlines and in lakes of fresh-water.

Reproduction in Algae:

1) Asexual reproduction.

2) Sexual reproduction.

Asexual Reproduction:  It is in the form of vegetative fragmentation. The filament breaks into pieces via wave action against solid objects. Each and every piece grows into the mature filament.

Sexual Reproduction:  Sexual reproduction is by the procedure of conjugation or fission of two identical reproductive units or gametes that is, isogametes. Conjugation generally occurs between the cells of two filaments or even three; this is termed as scalariform or ladder-like conjugation.

Importance of Algae:

1) Algae are very significant. They generate more oxygen than all the plants in the world, put altogether.

2) Red and brown sea-weeds give significant economic products in the form of assets in manufacturing of business products and food for people. Such sea-weeds are generally harvested from the wild, though efforts are being made to grow big algae.

3) A red alga generally known as 'nori' is a popular food in Japan. The other alga termed as sea kale is consumed dried or cooked into different stews or soups.

4) Brown sea-weeds give a natural source for the production of chemicals termed alginates which are employed as thickening agents and stabilizers in the business preparation of foods and pharmaceutical medicines.

5) A sea-weed named agar made by certain red algae is employed in the formation of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and as well in the making of jellied desserts and soups.

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