Algae: Phylogeny and Evolution


Ideas on the phylogeny and evolution of the algae are presently based on a combination of ultrastructural, biochemical and molecular data. Following the discovery that chloroplasts of eukaryotic algae arose after one or more symbiotic events, the term algae is now used as a colloquial term for primitive plants, including both prokaryotic and eukaryotic species.

Keywords: algae; plankton; protists; seaweeds

Figure 1.

Phylogenetic tree, illustrating present ideas on the relationships between algal and other groups of protists. Six main branches (‘kingdoms’) have been drawn to radiate from approximately the same point, indicating that the branches appeared at approximately the same time during the history of the Earth. (After Simpson and Roger (2004).


Further Reading

Bhattacharya D (1997) Origins of Algae and their Plastids. Vienna: Springer.

Christensen T (1980) Algae. A Taxonomic Survey, fasc. 2. Odense: AiO Print.

Gibbs SP (1981) The chloroplasts of some algal groups may have evolved from endosymbiotic algae. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 361: 193–208.

Green JG, Leadbeater BSC and Diver WL (1989) The Chromophyte Algae. Problems and Perspectives. The Systematics Association, special vol. 38. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Irvine DEG and John DM (1984) Systematics of the Green Algae. The Systematics Association, special vol. 27. London: Academic Press.

Ragan MA (1998) On the delineation and higher‐level classification of algae. European Journal of Phycology 33: 1–15.

Simpson AG and Roger AJ (2004) The real ‘kingdoms’ of eukaryotes. Current Biology 14: R693–R696.

van den Hoek C, Mann DG and Jahns HM (1995) Algae. An Introduction to Phycology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Moestrup, Øjvind(Jan 2006) Algae: Phylogeny and Evolution. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0004231]