Algae Definition – What is Algea? Is IT Bacteria or Plant? Scientific Name & Classification (2021)

Is your pool hosting a crop of algae?

Know that species of various algae number in the hundreds if not thousands.

Many are a type of plant organism, while others are in a class of neither plants nor animals.

In other words, their cell structure is unlike that of plants or animals.

Marine Algae live in water, and this includes ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, the sea, and unfortunately, swimming pools.

Their cells take form in colors such as brown, red, and green and vary in shape and size.

The cells survive and expand through photosynthesis, like plants, which simply means their green chlorophyll uses sunlight to create nutrients and food for the growth of cells.

Without proper care, they can make a mess of your swimming pool.

Let’s look at the scientific names of the most common types.


The Scientific Name for The Algae Kingdom – Bacteria or Plant? What is the Classification?

What is Algae?

Algae are usually categorized into three scientific types.

Green Algae Scientific Name: Plantae

Plantae algae are some version of green in color and this most common type is very opportunistic and can appear quickly such as after a rainstorm and make your pool look terrible.

Here are some common types:

  • Charophyta which is found in freshwater.
  • Chlorokybophyceae which typically develops in alpine locations.
  • Chlorophyta is known as a green taxon and often referred to as chlorophytes
  • Mesostigmatophyceae which has two species of algae in the basal form

Yellow Algae Scientific Name: Xanthophyceae

This type is generally yellow or a version of yellow-green and often referred to as “Mustard Algae”.

They belong to the family of chromalveolates that have chlorophyll.

A very common type of yellow algae that are also found in pools is named pleurochloris prenoidosa.

Yellow algae are similar to others but grow more slowly and are more deficient in chlorophyll or green pigment which explains the yellow color.

Both the green and mustard varieties are free-floating types.

They are found floating throughout the water, and even though they cling to surfaces they are not affixed to them and can be easily brushed off.

Water that hosts these types will tend to color yellow and will be cloudy.

Black Algae Scientific Name: Cyanobacteria

Not truly an alga, cyanobacteria is a bacterium that is without nuclei.

If you’ve noticed black looking algae in your pool, cyanobacteria are probably the culprit.

They have a black-like appearance but are dark blue-green algae.

This particular species of algae does not obtain food itself through chlorophyll photosynthesis but uses phycocyanin for the process.

With a regular food source, it will grow in localized areas on a wall, or perhaps near steps and indicates poor circulation patterns in the water.

The Algae Kingdom in Water – How Does Algae Grow and Reproduce?

The cycle of life for an alga is characterized by its reproducing through division.

They divide into two independent cells and continue the life cycle.

A few species may have both female and male reproductive organs.

This group of living entities has very strong survival attributes with spores that can survive in the harshest weather conditions for years and years even in the absence of water.

But they are also food for other aquatic species in the marine food chain.

Black algae also present a challenge because they are particularly difficult to control or eliminate because they make use of a defense system by producing a waxy coating that prevents agents from penetrating within the colony and killing it.


What’s another name for algae?

They are often called dulse, kelp, scum, or seaweed in a generic sense, otherwise, it can be called specifically with its scientific name depending on which type one is referring to.

What are green algae called?

“Green algae” is a generic term for a group that includes Chlorophyta, Charophyta/Streptophyta, basal Mesostigmatophyceae, Chlorokybophyceae, and Spirotaenia among others.

There are many different types: approximately 8,000 species that are included in this group.

What are algae classified as?

They have been classified as a part of the Kingdom of Protista.

This “kingdom” is comprised of various unicellular organisms as well as multinuclear and multicellular eukaryotic organisms that are characterized by cells with a membrane-bound nucleus.

What are the 3 types of algae?

Marine algae are classified into three groups:

  • Green Algae – Chlorophyta
  • Brown Algae – Phaeophyta
  • Red Algae – Rhodophyta

The Bottom Line

Algae growth in a swimming pool is of no benefit as it clouds the water and can be slippery while giving the impression of a lack of cleanliness.

It can easily be controlled through maintenance thanks to a range of interrelated actions which include the control of circulation patterns in the pool, and a good algaecide used regularly in the pool’s normal maintenance program.

Prevention is the best solution, but the identification of the type of algae is fundamental to eradicating the problem should it appear.