Talk:Algae

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Algae produce most of the oxygen sentence[edit]

I have attempted to remove this unsourced section,[1] but my deletion of it and another's deletion of it have now been reverted 3 times in an edit war by User:Alacante45. This topic, algae's contribution to earth's extant and dynamic oxygen budget is somewhat controversial and requires sourcing and development of the sentence. In addition, what many people are discussing when they say this is cyanobacteria, an organism rightly excluded from this topic, as it is a bacterium, and, although called algae in the vernacular, is not even remotely related the eukaryotic organisms known as "algae."

To prevent a continuance of this edit war, I request discussion of the issue here. Thanks. --184.99.172.218 (talk) 16:49, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

I have redone that sentence and deleted the controversial statements,as well as citing a reference.2.97.73.116 (talk) 17:09, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

It has been removed again. The reference you provided [2] doesn't actually say anything about "most of Earth's oxygen" being "fuelled by algae", I asked for references at the reference desk (here). So far, we got an article from Greentech Media stating that "[Algae] account for approximately 60% of the oxygen production on Earth"[3] (no source for this figure in the article)---Sluzzelin talk 08:18, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
In truth, it's not well know the contributions of different forms of organisms to the current global oxygen budget. If you decide to add something, I would like it to be from a credible, well sourced, secondary or tertiary source. I will look at the your links. Thanks. --184.99.172.218 (talk) 06:19, 6 October 2010 (UTC)


I do not consider the link reliable enough to post that information in the WP article. The Greentech article isn't peer-reviewed, doesn't make it clear which algae are being discussed, and, like I said, the figure isn't sourced. We have no idea where it is from. ---Sluzzelin talk 10:00, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
I reported the link because that is all I had received at the desks so far (and nothing forthcoming since, I had hoped for more replies). I too tried searching for data pertaining to Algae as defined in this article's lede, but as 184.99 pointed out, these particular figures seem to be very hard to find. A reference commenting on the lack of data, or impossibility to make a meaningful estimate would be welcome as well. I agree that this statement of Algae producing the lion's share of oxygen should not be included until we have at least one reliable source. Preferably more than one. ---Sluzzelin talk 10:30, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
We're in agreement then. --184.99.172.218 (talk) 04:50, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I have redone the sentence with the better reference. Please see here. The old website also had malware stuck to it.86.173.33.234 (talk) 15:11, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't accept spamvertisements, either. If you want to advertise, find some other place to do it. --184.99.172.218 (talk) 17:57, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

You've definitely misunderstood what I meant. I just meant about the malware thing was on the website that I have no responsibility over. (There you go,disclaimer!) Also (since I'm Alacante45/Unclebert11;whatever) on another computer, I would just like to say I copied the original text from a QI Book of General Ignorance. 86.173.33.234 (talk) 14:47, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

New addition moved here[edit]

Notable effects on earth[edit]

Algae is an big factor of the oxygen levels of earth, as it is the biggest producer of oxygen in earth, as a waste product of photosynthesis. [1]

I moved this here for now. This is not what most scientific texts have in it, so I would just like to find one scientific source or technical source in the literature to support this website, or establish the scientific credentials of this website first. --Kleopatra (talk) 17:38, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Ah yes...I found it in some trivia book...but I can't remember it's name. Special Cases LOOK, A TALK PAGE!!!! 07:30, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

What about this one? Special Cases LOOK, A TALK PAGE!!!! 07:32, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
How about a technical journal or book, rather than a website? This astounding statistic should be readily available in any textbook or journal. --Kleopatra (talk) 05:19, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Aha! I can remember it's name. The book is called The QI Book of General Ignorance. May sound a silly book to find such fact, but yes that's where I got it from. Special Cases LOOK, A TALK PAGE!!!! 06:54, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Game shows are not considered relialbe sources of information. They got their science from somewhere, or they got it wrong. Why not find the technical source of the information? --Kleopatra (talk) 12:27, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Then I'm stuck. Special Cases LOOK, A TALK PAGE!!!! 16:31, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand why the article published in the journal Science is not considered acceptable here as a source. In any case, the statistics I recall pertain to diatoms as the primary modern producers, responsible for 20-25% of primary productivity on the planet (D. Werner. (1977) The Biology of Diations, Introductory chapter), and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) as the primary (and original) oxygen producers of the Precambrian. --EncycloPetey (talk) 20:29, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
An article by Schopf in Science would certainly be acceptable for almost anything, and it would be cited all over the place. However, there is only one of the three above references, the third one, tied to this discussion. The Schopf reference arises from a discussion in a thread above this one. Special Cases is just a blocked sock puppet. --Kleopatra (talk) 20:40, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
Then you might follow the lead in the introduction I cited above. I unfortunately do not currently have access to a decent library, and so can't follow the citation trails the way I'd like to do. I'm limited to the books on my shelves and whatever bits the internet is willing to share for free. Most of my algal publications deal with fossils, plastid evolution, and general morphology. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:10, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by I "might follow the lead in the introduction you cited above?" What introduction did you cite above? What do you mean by I might follow the lead? --Kleopatra (talk) 05:30, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I mean you might look up the source I cited (D. Werner. (1977) The Biology of Diatoms, Introductory chapter) and see if a specific paper is cited within that source. --EncycloPetey (talk) 06:29, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I can check it as a starting point. Theories about the evolution of earth's atmosphere have changed since that time, but it would be a start. --Kleopatra (talk) 07:01, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I would expect that article to cover current oxygen production, not ancient production, particularly since the diatoms don't show up in the fossil record until about 120 mya. If you are looking for information about Precambrian oxygen production, I can provide a lot of information just from what I have at hand, but that would be better treated in detail on the Cyanobacteria article. I had assumed until now that the question in this thread dealt primarily with the modern replenishment of atmospheric oxygen (as part of the oxygen cycle) by primary producers. The books in my personal library discuss carbon production, and autecological rates of oxygen production, but provide nothing on global oxygen production (that I can find). --EncycloPetey (talk) 08:09, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I said "evolution of the earth's atmosphere," but this covers recent, also. If diatoms are considered primary contributors to today's oxygen levels, and they only appeared about 120 Mya, they are considered part of the evolution, not just recent, as oxygen levels were about the same 120 Mya. The evaluation of extensive evidence of the fossil record of marine photosynthetic organisms and modeling on super computers is part of what has changed ideas about how the earth's oxygen levels have evolved through time and the relative contributions of various organisms and processes to the ancient and current levels, so an article from the late 70s could only be a starting point, not sufficient. --Kleopatra (talk) 15:17, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Algae release oxygen, but it cannot really be called production as it is more of a recycling process. They grow by taking CO2 from the air, keep the C, and release the oxygen back into the air. Forrests do the same; when they decay or burn, the CO2 goes back into the air as it does when algae are turned into fuel and burnt. By contrast, oil, gas, and coal combustion have not (in our time) taken CO2 from the air. When these are burnt they take up oxygen and release it into the air as CO2, which is additional CO2 at the expense of the oxygen content of the air. That's my understanding - non-scientist. Quantifying the effect on the earth is for scientists. 121.209.53.9 (talk) 00:30, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Plantae vs. Protista[edit]

Are algae considered plants or protists? Or maybe some are plants and others are protists? — Preceding unsigned comment added by AlexGu100 (talkcontribs) 22:16, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

"Protista" is no longer used as a taxon by biologists, so algae are not protists. However, "algae" themselves are not a taxonomic group; it is an artificial grouping of organisms that have chlorophyll, even though some are bacteria, some are related to plants, some are flagellates, and some belong to other groups. Only some algae are considered plants--those that are closely related to plants and share the same cell chemistry. Other "algae" (such as kelp and diatoms) are not related to plants. They belong to another kingdom Chromalveolata (although the definition of this kingdom is still under investigation). --EncycloPetey (talk) 23:11, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Prokaryotic algae[edit]

"Algae" are an ecological group of simple organisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis. This definition allows for closely related organisms without plastids, while excluding groups of bacteria that do not produce oxygen during photosynthesis and eukaryotic organisms that evolved without relation to oxygen evolving organisms. "Protist" is a valid word for this article.

I would like to expand the introduction. The dictionary definition should be low for the article compared to how different textbooks on algae and botany treat the ecological group. Cyanobacteria are studied by phycologists, they are routinely called algae due to their ecological niches. Scientists have known they are bacteria for long time while still considering them algae, this article seems to raise the possibility that researchers, one day recent, woke up to find they are bacteria. No, it was more about a better name most recently, not their true nature as prokaryot

Eau (talk) 06:05, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I don't understand your question or comment. You say that you want to change the introduction, but it's not clear what changes you want to make. --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:08, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

I want to include prokaryotic organims (hence the title of this thread), and I want to use a definition and grouping more akin to what is found in introductory phycology textbooks (my first sentence, in part), that the algae are an ecological group, not a taxonomic one, and their primary characteristic is organizational simplicity versus the derivations that allowed the colonization of the land, and oxygenic photosynthesis, not autotrophy, although vice versa on the order. Eau (talk) 17:19, 12 August 2012 (UTC)


I understood and agreed with evertyhing you said until "their primary characteristic is organizational simplicity". Many algae are organizationally very complex, so it's not true to say otherwise. --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:29, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Tissue. Eau (talk) 17:32, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Your response implies two things that I can't agree with: (1) It implies that a single-celled organism cannot be structurally complex. Many scientists would disagree with that. (2) It imples that no algae have tissues, which is also incorrect. Kelps are just one example of algae with differentiated tissues. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:35, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Tissues in kelp and other seaweeds are relatively undifferentiated compared to the evolutionary complexities evolved by land plants to survive on land. I take no credit for this as original research, but leave it to authorities on algae. I cannot agree that the differentiation of tissues in a kelp is similar to the tissue differentiation of a land plant, and I will not be able to find any authorities that state that. My only intention was to develop this article more along the lines of textbooks, solid tertiary sources, on phycology, and I cannot create anything unique to satisfy individual editors in another way. I can edit elsewhere. Eau (talk) 21:43, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Phycologists disagree with you concerning the tissues in kelps, and I can provide numerous published references in that regard (e.g., Bold & Wynne, Prescott). It's one reason I started rewriting brown algae. I would argue that many kelps are at least as structurally differentiated and complex as mosses. I know of no modern phycology text that defines algae on the basis of relative undifferentiation of tissues. --EncycloPetey (talk) 22:11, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Bold and Wynne 1985 (PCR developed in 1983) differentiated algae from plants by their modes of sexual reproduction, and their primacy in the plant kingdom as indicated by 1. their antiquity (fossil record of cyanobacteria or blue-green algae as the authors call them, and eukaryotic algae in the Precambrian) and 2. “the relative simplicity of organization of most algal plant bodies, as compared with other groups of plants, especially vascular plants, although in this respect the kelps seem to be exceptions But they continue about the plant body, "relative simplicity of the single cell to the more striking complexity exhibited by the giant kelps and the rockweeds" the kelps contain "highly differentiated bladelike, rootlike, stemlike, leaflike organs … lacking in vascular tissue, although phloemlike conducting cells occur in some kelps." While meristematic tissue and cellular differentiation of the most complex of the brown algae, the giant kelps, is discussed on pages 354-355, it does not establish they have the complexity, multiplicity of meristematic or conducting tissue types of a land plant.

Graham, Wilcox and Graham, 2008, say brown algae are the most complex of the algae, and algae are defined as cyanobacteria and oxygenate photosynthetic "protists", protists, from UCMP "defined on the absence of characters (i.e. no complex development from embryos, no extensive cell differentiation, etc.), which is considered poor form." The most complex of the protists, and protists being simpler than land plants.

Falkowski and Raven 2007 describe multiple divisions of eukaryotic algae and one division of prokaryotic, so back to the title, lacking prokaryotic algae.

South & Whittick, 1987 describe “both prokaryotic and eukaryotic forms” “'algae are simply constructed” “Even the most complex multicellular forms show a low level of differentiation compared with other groups of plants, with only the most advanced [cringe] possessing elementary conducting tissues. The range of morphology is, however, extremely diverse, …. Yet the relative simplicity of the algae is misleading, because even the smallest may exhibit, at the cellular level, a high degree of complexity.” According to Faklowski and Raven an area for this complexity ‘‘at the cellular level is their photosynthetic pathways, and, according to Bold and Wynne it is their sexual reproduction (other authors repeat both, photosynthetic pathways and sexual reproductive diversity and uniqueness).

Lee, 1999, "The algae are thallophytes (plants lacking roots, stems, and leaves) that have chlorophyll a as their primary photosynthetic pigment and lack a sterile covering of cells around the reproductive cells," and including the cyanobacteria. The Laminariales have an intercalary meristem and differentiation into holdfast, stipe, and blade, sieve cells, etc., and a relatively recent evolution.

I was trying to bring this article in line with basic phycology textbooks, including the older ones, such as Bold and Wynne.

The article already describes most algae as "photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many distinct organs found in land plants," and I just wanted to rewrite this to accord with the phycology textbooks and make it clear what phycologists mean by simplicity in tissues and structure. However, my primary concerns were the use of "autotrophic" and the exclusion of the cyanobacteria.

You have provided a source that agrees with me, ignored that the article already says what you have focused on, and ignored the most important points that I raised. I think I am going to quote another editor here, Curtis Clark on the tree article, "I've decided I don't give a fuck." Eau (talk) 00:45, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

I have removed Algae from my watch list. Eau (talk) 00:52, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Filtration[edit]

Why is Filtration not a suitable section under "Other uses" ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by SantaMonicaMale (talkcontribs) 02:42, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

More on fuel source?[edit]

In Western Australia a German company was going to expand their pilot plant to produce bio diesel and a pilot plant in Adelaide, South Australia was established a few seasons ago. That one was supposed to be good enough for producing even aviation fuel. I am not an expert, but we probably ought to know more about it.

Alternative fuel production is becoming more urgent before fracking spreads even more. If anybody has knowledge about this specific use of algae, that would be good to know, either as an enlarged segment or a separate article. 121.209.53.9 (talk) 06:11, 1 February 2014 (UTC)