Jeremy has a master of science degree in education.
Rhodophyta are a sub-group of algae, the red algae. Even though they are called 'red algae', not all species are necessarily red. Their pigmentation can vary depending on where they are living. Rhodophytes in deeper waters are typically a dark red, almost black color, while those in medium depths are bright red. In shallow areas, the algae can appear more green than red. Some species even have pink or puple coloring.
Their color comes from an accessory pigment (a pigment in addition to chlorophyll), phycoerythrin (similar to chlorophyll) that is found inside of the algae, giving its reddish color. The phycoerythrin absorbs other colors and reflect the red.
Characteristics of Rhodophyta
Rhodophyta have been identified as some of the oldest and most numerous (up to 10,000 species) of the algae. They primarily live in marine environments, though some species live in freshwater habitats. And although they can live in tropical and polar waters, they are commonly found in reefs and tide pools.
Their taxonomy is currently being disputed as we have moved beyond the typical 5 kingdoms. At one point they would have been classified under the Plantae kingdom or even the Protista kingdom. They are now stuck in a sort of limbo state as far as their taxonomy (classification) goes.
They are eukaryotes, meaning they have membrane-bound organelles as well as a nucleus. This is a step up in the evolutionary line from prokaryotic cells, lacking these features, but Rhodophyta are still not as advanced as other plants similar to them. Rhodophyta are typically multicellular and complex, though there are some red algae made of single cells or simple filaments.
Unlike other types of algae, those in the Rhodophyta phylum do not have flagella (tails that beat to allow for movement). So red algae rely upon ocean currents to help them move. They also use these ocean currents to allow their gametes (sex cells) to move around, allowing for fertilization and reproduction.
One of the uses of red algae is producing agar, which is an extraction of certain sugars. Agar is then used to culture and study microorganisms in laboratories. It is also used in place of gelatin in some different culture's cooking habits.
Also, some species of red algae are called coralline algae, and they help build coral reefs. As we know, coral reefs are used as habitats, and they help create natural barriers.
1) Taxonomists struggle with classifying Rhodophyta; some will classify it in the Kingdom Plantae, though others place it in Kingdom Protista
2) Rhodophyta algae's red color occurs because of a pigment in their cells called phycoerythrin; the tone of red is dependent upon ocean depth
3) Red algae are eukaryotes, typically multitcellular
4) Red algae do not have flagella; they utilize ocean currents to move and to reproduce
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