Algae are a large group of living things, at one time thought to be a type of plant. They have many of the characteristics of plants. They have chorophyll and make their own food. However they do not have roots, stems, leaves or flowers and are found mostly in all kinds of watery places worldwide.
Today algae are now more often grouped as protista The study of algae is called phycology.
Algae can be one celled as in diatoms or euglena, or many celled. Some examples of multi-celled would include the ball shaped Volvox, the ribbon shaped spirogyra, seaweed. kelps. Some of the algae can reach sizes of several hundred feet.
Algae are major suppliers of food and oxygen within water communities. They are important in help provide petroleum. Certain algae are also eaten by humans as well.
Algae reproduce in a variety of ways. The simplest forms of algae reproduce by simple cell division. Others reproduce by spores, fragmentation or reproduce sexually.
Many algae get their names by the pigments or cells that color them such as blue-green algae, brown or red seaweed, etc.
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