Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Bryopsis corticulans Taxonomy

There is currently a debate going on about where exactly algae fall in the classification hierarchy. Many would argue that algae should be a part of the Plant kingdom, whereas others believe that algae belong in the Protista kingdom. There are many people now who are abandoning kingdoms altogether, and grouping algae along with plants and animals in the domain Eukarya for all organisms that have nuclei (eukaryotic).

Kingdom: Protista
This kingdom usually includes organisms that are unicellular and not photosynthetic (which is where the controversy of whether or not algae should be included in this kingdom comes from). The Protista kingdom also includes various organisms that do not really fit in the other kingdoms (e.g. plantae or animalia or bacteria), thus it is a categorization with somewhat ambiguous criteria.

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Division: Chlorophyta (The Greens)
There are over 5,000 species of green algae, but most of these are freshwater species. The greens are mostly unicellular with simple filamentous structure, though there are more diverse/complex species in the tropics. The characterizing green color (of varying degrees) of this division is caused by having chlorophylls a and b as their main photosynthetic pigments, though most green algae have accessory pigments such as carotenes and xanthophylls. Greens can reproduce both asexually and sexually and their life histories generally tend to be more simple than the reds (division Rhodophyta).

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Family: Bryopidaceae
Species in this family have a uniaxial system with branched tubular coenocytic (unicellular, multinucleate) thalli (plant bodies). The branches are unseptate (lacking tranverse partitions) produced pinnately or radially from the main axes.

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Genera: Bryopsis
Bryopsis can be found in relatively protected waters, ranging from temparate to tropical seas. Most species are less than 10cm long. Though generally known to reproduce sexually through the union of anisogamous flagellated gametes (gametes of unequal sizes) produced from gametangia formed by conversion of pinnae, studies have shown two alternative life histories for Bryopsis.

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009