© F. Bungartz, Charles Darwin Foundation
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Algae are not a taxonomic group. The term instead refers to organisms that in nature perform similar ecological roles. They are predominantly aquatic, photosynthetic species that typically inhabit marine and fresh-water habitats, although a few algae also grow in terrestrial environments where they inhabit soil, stone, or plant surfaces. Terrestrial algae also occur as photobionts of lichen symbioses.
Two large groups of algae can be distinguished: cyanobacteria (often called blue-green algae) are true bacteria, i.e., prokaryotic cells without cell organelles. All other algae are eukaryotes with a cell nucleus and cell organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Eukaryotic algae can be small, unicellular like the diatoms (Bacillariophyta), or they may form colonies, or even large seaweeds like the phaheophytes (Ochrophyta).
Green and red algae (Chlorophyta & Rodophyta) are more closely related to green land plants (Plantae) than to other algae (Chromista).
Included within the Chromista are some groups that lost chloroplasts during their evolution and are ecologically similar to fungi, even though they are not related to the true fungi (Oomycota, Hyphochytridiomycota, Labyrinthulomycota).
In Galapagos the marine algae are relatively well known, but all other groups have received very little attention.
Editors: Angel Chiriboga, Diego Ruiz, Frauke Ziemmeck, Stuart Banks, Patricia Jaramillo Díaz.
Other Contributors: Margarita Brandt, Rodrigo Bustamante, Graham Edgar, José Miguel Fariña, Lauren Garske, Peter Glynn, Cleveland Hickman, Fernando Pinillos, Fernando Rivera, Adam Schneider, Franz Smith, Nathalia Tirado-Sanchez, Marco Toscano, Mariana Vera, Luis Vinueza.
!There is currently no CDF Checklist information available for this taxonomic group. If you are a specialist in this group, we welcome your participation.
You are welcome to download and use this information acknowledging the origin of the data.
This list should be cited as follows: