Chlorophyta, a division of green algae, includes about 7,000 species of mostly aquatic photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. Like the land plants (bryophytes and tracheophytes), green algae contain chlorophylls a and b, and store food as starch in their plastids. They are related to the Charophyta and Embryophyta (land plants), together making up the Viridiplantae.
The division contains both unicellular and multicellular species. While most species live in freshwater habitats and a large number in marine habitats, other species are adapted to a wide range of environments. Watermelon snow, or Chlamydomonas nivalis, of the class Chlorophyceae, lives on summer alpine snowfields. Others live attached to rocks or woody parts of trees. Some lichens are symbiotic relationships between fungi and green algae.
Members of the Chlorophyta also form symbiotic relationships with protozoa, sponges and cnidarians. All are flagellated and these have an advantage of motility. Some conduct sexual reproduction, which is oogamous or isogamous.
Class Prasinophyceae T. A. Chr. ex Ø. Moestrup & J. Throndsen
Classification according to Hoek, Mann and Jahns 1234.
- Pleurastrophyceae (Pleurastrales and Prasiolales)
Classification according to Bold and Wynne (Introduction to the Algae, Second Edition, Prentice Hall NJ)
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