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  1. 1. Algae in Aquatic, Marine, and Terrestrial Systems General Biology, Systematics, Ecology, and Environmental Impact
  2. 2. Algae in Aquatic, Marine, and Terrestrial Systems• Polyphyletic group: multiple genealogies• Prokaryotic algae (cyanobacteria) and Eukaryotic algae (protistans; not true plants)• Autotrophy• Body form: unicellular, filamentous, and multicellular• Diverse group: Over 26,900 eukaryotic algal species described.
  3. 3. Divisions (Phyla) of Algae• Prokaryotic Algae – Division Cyanophyta (cyanobacteria or blue-green algae) – not the first photosynthetic organisms, but ancient (3.5 billion years based on fossil record) – one organelle is present in the form of simple, flattened vesicles called thylakoids (2 photosystems present) – Chlorophyll a, phycobiliproteins; prochlorophytes are related species that possess chlorophyll a, b, and (c) – Carbohydrate Reserve: Starch
  4. 4. Single-celled to filamentous blue-green alga or cyanobacterium
  5. 5. Colonial Cyanobacterium• Gleocapsa
  6. 6. Filamentous to semi-multicellular Cyanobacterium• Nostoc
  7. 7. Filamentous Cyanobacterium• Oscillatoria
  8. 8. Divisions of Eukaryotic Algae• Division Rhodophyta (red algae)• Division Chlorophyta (green algae)• Division Chromophyta (= Chrysophyta - golden brown algae, yellow-green algae, diatoms; and Phaeophyta - the brown algae, for example, kelps)• Division Haptophyta• Division Dinophyta (= Pyrrophyta - dinoflagellates)• Division Cryptophyta (cryptomonads)• Division Euglenophyta (Euglena spp.)
  9. 9. Photosynthetic Pigments & Food ReservesRhodophyta Chlorophyll a; Starch (α-1,4-linked phycoerythrobilin glucan)Chlorophyta Chlorophylls a & b StarchChromophyta Chlorophylls a, c1, c2; Chrysolaminarin or fucoxanthin laminarin (β-1,3-linked glucan)Haptophyta Chlorophylls a, c1, c2; Chrysolaminarin fucoxanthin (β-1,3-linked glucan)Dinophyta Chlorophylls a, c2; Starch peridininCryptophyta Chlorophylls a, c2; Starch phycocyanobilinEuglenophyta Chlorophylls a, b Paramylon (β-1,3- linked glucan)
  10. 10. Unicellular Green Alga
  11. 11. Conjugation – Sexual Reproduction
  12. 12. Filamentous Green Alga
  13. 13. Colonial Green Alga
  14. 14. Multicellular Green AlgaeUlva - sea lettuce
  15. 15. Desmid - Cosmarium
  16. 16. Diatoms
  17. 17. Dinoflagellate Algae• Cellulose-containing armor plates that give them a sculpted appearance• most species found in salt-water environments• common cause of red tides - algal blooms
  18. 18. Euglenoids
  19. 19. Red Algae Smithora naiadum - a epiphyte on eel and surf grassPorphyra - nori use towrap uncooked fish & Pikea robustaother food items
  20. 20. Brown algaeFucus sp. Nereocystis luekeana
  21. 21. Alaskan Kelp Forest
  22. 22. Beneficial Aspects of Algae• Food for humans• Food for invertebrates and fishes in mariculture• Animal feed• Soil fertilizers and conditioners in agriculture• Treatment of waste water• Diatomaceous earth (= diatoms)• Chalk deposits• Phycocolloids (agar, carrageenan from red algae; alginates from brown algae)• Drugs• Model system for research• Phycobiliproteins for fluorescence microscopy
  23. 23. Detrimental Aspects of Algae• Blooms of freshwater algae• Red tides and marine blooms• Toxins accumulated in food chains• Damage to cave paintings, frescoes, and other works of art• Fouling of ships and other submerged surfaces• Fouling of the shells of commercially important bivalves
  24. 24. Red tide bloom• Prorocentrum micans bloom• Associated with Hurricane Floyd, which ended a dry summer• surface of water slick with this dinoflagellate 9-21-1999
  25. 25. Algal Bloom: Before and After 9-23-1999 9-29-1999
  26. 26. Red Tide
  27. 27. Satellite Imagery of Red Tides
  28. 28. Toxic Phytoplankton & Human poisoning• Paralytic shellfish poisoning - saxitoxin• Neurotxic shellfish poisoning - brevetoxin• Ciguatera fish poisoning - ciguatoxin and maitotoxin• Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning - okadaic acid• Amnesic shellfish poisoning - domoic acid• Cyanobacterial neurotoxins - anatoxins• Cyanobacterial hepatotoxins - microcystin, nodularin• Dermatitis - lyngbyatoxin, aplysiatoxin
  29. 29. Bird Sudden Death Syndrome
  30. 30. Bird Sudden Death Syndrome• DeGray Lake, Arkansas; Eagles migrate to area in October and stay through March• Eagles eat fish, the American coot, and other prey items• Winter 1994-1995, 29 eagles were found dead or died of a neurological malady• Winter 1996-1997, pattern repeated itself, leaving 26 bald eagles dead• Die-off of eagles has been reported in North Carolina and Georgia• Coots have been reported to suffer similar symptoms and mortality outbreaks• Why? No one knows? Algal toxins?