Algae (Encyclopedia of Science)
Algae (singular: alga) are plants or plantlike organisms that contain chlorophyll (pronounced KLOR-uh-fill) and other pigments (coloring matter) that trap light from the Sun. This light energy is then converted into food molecules in a process called photosynthesis. Most algae store energy as some form of carbohydrate (complex sugars).
Algae can be either single-celled or large, multicellular organisms. They can occur in freshwater or salt water (most seaweeds are algae) or on the surfaces of moist soil or rocks. The multicellular algae lack the true stems, leaves, or roots of the more complex, higher plants, although someike the giant kelpave tissues that may be organized into structures that serve particular functions. The cell walls of algae are generally made of cellulose and can also contain pectin, which gives algae its slimy feel.
Types of algae
Although the term algae originally referred to aquatic plants, it is now broadly used to include a number of different groups of unrelated organisms. There are seven divisions of organisms that make up the algae. They are grouped according to the types of pigments they use for photosynthesis, the makeup of their cell walls, the types of carbohydrate compounds they store for energy, and the types of flagella (whiplike structures) they use for movement. The colors of the algae types are due to...
(The entire section is 1581 words.)
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