The Systematics of Subaerial Algae

  • Juan M. Lopez-Bautista
  • Fabio Rindi
  • Dale Casamatta
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 11)

Over the past millions of years the land on our planet has been the testing ground for many experiments or, more dramatically, the battleground for many invasions. A myriad of ancestral plant forms came from the sea and lakes to exploit the terrestrial environment. Those life forms were algae, simple photoautotrophic organisms that eventually prepared the land for the terrestrial flora and fauna that were to follow. They successfully conquered the land in terms of making it a useable new habitat for themselves and developed new forms and processes to adapt. Those plant “invaders” or “conquerors” are represented today by algae living among us populating soils and other terrestrial habitats.

Most of the photosynthetic organisms that occur nowadays in aquatic habitats belong to this heterogeneous category generally called algae. These organisms are phylogenetically unrelated, or only distantly related, and differ enormously in terms of gross morphology, ultrastructure, biochemical traits and many other important features. Several lineages of algae successfully colonized terrestrial environments. Although from the ecological point of view the most important conquest of land was that of the green algae of the streptophytan lineage (those that gave rise to land plants), several other groups did succeed in becoming terrestrial. Representatives of these lineages are presently commonly found in terrestrial environments and unlike land plants, have maintained a very similar morphology to that of their aquatic relatives. The Charophyta and the Chlorophyta sensu stricto are the two groups of eukaryotic algae that along with the prokaryotic Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) have been most successful in colonizing terrestrial environments.


Internal Transcribe Spacer Green Alga Polar Bear Tropical Rainforest Terrestrial Habitat 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan M. Lopez-Bautista
    • 1
  • Fabio Rindi
    • 1
  • Dale Casamatta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of North FloridaJacksonvilleUSA

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