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Green Algae


Green algae are the largest and most diverse algae group. There are more than 700 species of green algae. They are most abundant in freshwater habitats, but can also be found in marine and even non-aquatic habitats. Green algae contain the same photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll A & B and carotenoids) as plants. This and other similarities between green algae and plants indicate that plants may have evolved from green algae. Green algae reproduce both sexually and asexually. Modes of asexual reproduction include fission, zoospore formation, and fragmentation. Sexual reproduction can be haplontic (in most green algae), diplontic (e.g. grape algae Caulerpa), or diplohaplontic: both isomorphic (e.g. sea lettuce Ulva) and heteromophic (e.g. hair algae Derbesia).

You can look at different green algae under the microscope.


This exhibit displays Microsterias, Spirogyra, and Hydrodictyon algae:

Microsterias
(Charophyceae)

Spirogyra
(Charophyceae)

Hydrodictyon
(Chlorophyceae)
desmid, closely related to spirogyra "pond scum" or "water-silk" also known as "water net"
unicellular organism: two half-cells separated by an isthmus unbranching filament with spiral-like chlorplasts and slimy watery sheath each cylindrical cell links to two other cells to form large net-like colonies
usually found in bogs and ponds with poor nutrients. abundance indicates nutrient enrichment of freshwater bodies prefers clean, eutrophic water

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