Algae Reproduction - Summary

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At Ecologist Verde we want to teach you a little more in depth how the reproduction of algae works so that you learn more about its importance within the marine and river ecosystems. In addition, we will tell you about some of the main characteristics of the different types of algae such as river algae and seaweed, as well as the main differences between unicellular algae and multicellular algae.

We invite you to join us in this introductory article to the biological cycle of algae, which focuses on the reproduction of algae, to learn more about the environment around you.

How algae reproduce

The great diversity offered by algae kingdom, what is the protist kingdom, creates a wide spectrum when it comes to differentiating the types of reproduction possible between the different organisms that compose it. Here you can read about What is the Protista kingdom, its characteristics and examples.

We can divide the types of algae reproduction in three:

  • Vegetative
  • Asexual
  • Sexual

It is important to know that the different types of algae reproduction do not have to be mutually exclusive. By this we mean that depending on the species and the conditions offered by the environment, it is possible for the same individual to reproduce both sexually and asexually if the conditions around it are adequate for it.

Vegetative reproduction

That which is carried out by means of detachment of one of the parts of the algae. Depending on the species, it will be able to reproduce after the detachment or loss of both the thallus and the stolons. In order for a new organism to be generated with characteristics similar to those of the original alga, the part that has detached must be able to attach itself to a substrate to begin to grow on its own.

Asexual reproduction of algae

As with vegetative multiplication, asexual reproduction involves the creation of a new individual identical to the original. This asexual reproduction in algae implies a mitotic division, but it can vary according to the species. In the case of unicellular algae, they usually divide in two and are capable of produce spores so that these germinate and produce a new specimen. On the other hand, in the case of multicellular algae, we speak of a fragmentation process through which new algae appear, also identical to the main alga.

To learn more we advise you to read this other post about What is asexual reproduction, types and examples.

Sexual reproduction of algae

It differs from vegetative and asexual reproduction as it is a process by which a new, distinct individual originates. These are the different phases of sexual reproduction of algae:

  • Plasmogamy or fusion of the reproductive cells or gametes.
  • Karyogamy or fusion of the gametes to result in a zygote
  • Meiosis or chromosomal recombination process that results in new gametes for the next reproduction.

In addition, depending on the type of gametes that the individual presents, different types of plasmogamy may occur:

  • Isogamy when gametes are identical and motile
  • Anisogamy when gametes, even though they are mobile, do not have the same morphology
  • Oogamy when the size of the female gametes is greater than that of the male gametes and the latter, in turn, are found in a greater number

Algae in turn have a great diversity of life cycles whose differences occur during meiosis, depending on the type of cells that produce or if during the cycle there are one or more states of free life. Thus, we can divide and name them as follows:

  • Haplophasic monogenetic cycle: when meiosis occurs during zygote germination.
  • Diphasic monogenetic cycle: when meiosis results in two haploid gametes.
  • Haplodiphlophase digestive cycle: It consists of two phases. During the first phase the gametophyte produces gametes during mitosis and the second phase begins when the sporophyte produces spores during meiosis.

Now that you have read all this about reproduction in algae, you can read more about the Reproduction Function of living things in this other article.

Image: AlgaLab

Characteristics of algae

Next, we want to show you some of the general characteristics of algae so that you understand and establish the clearest differences of those organisms belonging to the kingdom of algae:

  • Although many may confuse algae with a type of plant, it is important to know that algae belong to their own kingdom within the classification: the Protista kingdom. You can clarify more about this question in this link: Are algae plants?
  • Within the protist kingdom, the vast majority of algae are part of the microscopic group. In the same way, although to a lesser extent, we can also find species belonging to the macroscopic group.
  • Algae are divided, in terms of their cellular organization, into: eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, the vast majority are eukaryotes, only those known as green algae that are found within the group of prokaryotes.
  • Except for green algae and red algae, the vast majority of algae have locomotion structures called flagella. These are normally arranged in even numbers.
  • Algae, in addition to having chlorophyll, have other photosynthetic pigments that allow them to achieve a greater light absorption spectrum. Thanks to them they are capable of photosynthesis under water and even at great depth. Learn more about photosynthetic pigments: what they are, types and examples.
  • It is quite common for algae to organize themselves into underwater grasslands. In addition, they can also develop and grow on other very wet surfaces, rocks and logs.

Here you can learn more about these organisms: Classification of algae.

If you want to read more articles similar to Reproduction of algae, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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