Are Algae Eukaryotic: 5 Facts You Should Be Knowing

In this article, we get to know about the algae, are algae eukaryotic and examples for eukaryotic algae, its characteristics and prokaryotic algae as well.

Algae are a class of creatures that are mostly aquatic, photosynthetic, and nucleus-bearing but lack the real roots, stalks, leaves, and specialised multicellular reproductive systems that plants have.

Are all algae eukaryotic?

Algae are eukaryotic creatures, meaning they have a nucleus and other components (organelles) encased by membranes in their cells. They prefer damp, primarily watery habitats and contain chlorophyll.

Algae has no commonly agreed definition. According to one interpretation, algae “contain chlorophyll as their principal photosynthetic pigment and do not have a sterile outermost layer covering their reproductive cells”. Similarly, the colourless Prototheca in Chlorophyta are chlorophyll-free. Despite the fact that cyanobacteria are commonly referred to as “blue-green algae,” most authors define algae to exclude all prokaryotes.

are algae eukaryotic
Various unicellular and colonial tiny freshwater algae from wikipedia

Which algae are eukaryotes?

Examples for eukaryotic algae are as follows

Amongst all algae, following 8 are eukaryotic in nature.

1. Green algae

Green chloroplasts with chlorophylls a and b are found in these groupings. Their chloroplasts are enclosed by three membranes and four membranes, respectively, and are thought to have been retained from green algae eaten.

2. Chlorarachniophytes

They include a tiny nucleomorph, that is a vestige of the algae’s nucleus, and be a part of the phylum Cercozoa.

3. Euglenids

They belong to the phylum Euglenozoa and live predominantly in fresh water, having just three membranes on their chloroplasts. It’s probable that myzocytosis, rather than phagocytosis, was used to get the endosymbiotic green algae.

Euglena viridis, by Ehrenberg from wikipedia

4. Red algae

These groups contain chloroplasts bearing chlorophylls a and c, along with phycobilins. They available in a multitude of shapes, including discoid, plate-shaped, spiral, reticulate, cup-shaped, and ribbon. To maintain protein and starch, they have at least one pyrenoids.

5. Heterokonts

Protists known as heterokonts are a kind of protist (formally known as Heterokonta, Heterokontae or Heterokontophyta). A main line of eukaryotes is represented by this group. The majority of plankton is made up of algae, which range from huge multicellular kelp to unicellular diatoms.

6. Dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates are a single-celled eukaryote that belongs to a monophyletic group that make up the phylum Dinoflagellata and are generally referred to as algae. Dinoflagellates are mainly found in marine environments, however they may also be found in freshwater.

7. Haptophyta

The haptophytes are a clade of algae categorised as Haptophyta, Haptophytina, or Prymnesiophyta (called after Prymnesium). Coccolithophores are the most well-known haptophytes, accounting for 673 of the 762 species documented.

8. Cryptomonads

Cryptomonads (also known as cryptophytes) are a kind of algae that have plastids. Both freshwater and saline lakes and brackish ecosystems are habitable to them.

How algae is eukaryotic?

Eukaryotic algae cells have nuclei that are relatively close with those of higher plants, and their DNA is enclosed within a meticulously permeable nuclear membrane.

  • As well-defined chloroplasts, these photosynthetic lamellae are restricted within membranes. Chloroplasts can be large, parietal, or star-like structures that exist alone within each cell, or they can be ribbon-like, bar-like, net-like, or discoid structures like those seen in non-algal green plants.
  • Pyrenoids are specialised sections of plastids present in many green algae (Chlorophyceae), brown algae (Phaeophyceae), golden algae (Chrysophyceae), and red algae (Rhodophyceae). Pyrenoids are commonly surrounded by starch granules in green algae. Pyrenoids are considered to be enzymatic sites of glucose polymerisation into starch.
  • All eukaryotic algae investigated so far have endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and Golgi bodies in their cells.
  • Algal motile cells might be flagellate. Contractile vacuoles, flagella, and stigmas are all features associated with movement.

Characteristics of eukaryotic algae

Algae have some characteristics with plants and animals.

Algae, for example, could perform photosynthesis like plants and have specialised structures & cellular components that mostly animals have, including centrioles and flagella. Few of the general properties of algae are listed below.

  • Photosynthetic creatures are algae.
  • Algae are single-celled or multicellular creatures.
  • Algae do not have roots, stalks, or leaves since they do not have a well-defined body.
  • Algae thrive when there is enough moisture.
  • Both asexual and sexual reproduction are found in algae. Asexual reproduction is accomplished by spore formation. Algae are self-contained creatures that may form symbiotic alliances with other organisms.

Which algae is prokaryotic?

Blue-green Algae / cyanobacteria, Blue-green algae were formerly one of the very well-known algae kinds. However, blue-green algae are prokaryotes and are not formally classified as algae (because all algae are classified as eukaryotic organisms).

These creatures, often known as cyanobacteria, thrive in the same damp or watery conditions as other algae. Dams, rivers, reservoirs, streams, lakes, and seas are examples. The photosynthetic mechanism provides energy to this type of bacterium. Some blue-green algae species are beneficial to the ecosystem because they fix nitrogen in the soil.

On the other hand, some blue-green algae species are harmful to humans. They can be neurotoxic (causing paralysis in the respiratory or neurological systems) or hepatotoxic (producing liver damage) (causes the liver to fail). Furthermore, some can serve as environmental health indicators, indicating the level of contamination.

1. Chlorophyta

Chlorophyta, also known as Prasinophyta, is a taxon of green algae that is commonly referred to as chlorophytes. It refers to a very paraphyletic group of all green algae within the green plant family (Viridiplantae), which comprises over 7,000 species in previous classification schemes.

Chlorophytes (A–F, H–L and O) from wikipedia

2. Rhodophyta

Are one of the earliest eukaryotic algae groups? The Rhodophyta is also one of the biggest phyla of algae, with over 7,000 species now recognised and continuous taxonomic revisions.

3. Glaucophyta

Glaucophytes are a tiny category of freshwater unicellular algae that are less abundant today than they were during the Proterozoic.


In this article, we studied about the algae. how these species exhibit the eukaryotic and prokaryotic characteristics and several examples of eukaryotic and prokaryotic algaes.

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