Scientific classification of Golden Algae
What is Golden Algae?
Golden algae are a large group of algae species belonging to the class Chrysophyceae. Due to the scientific name of their class, they are formally known as chrysophytes. A lot of algae research is currently going on and the taxonomy has been changed quite a lot during recent years. There are currently over a thousand described species of golden algae.
A majority of the known Chrysophytes are unicellular and free-swimming, but you can also find colonial and filamentous forms in this group. Chrysophytes chiefly occur in freshwater. In many lakes, golden algae are the primary source of food for zooplankton and they can therefore be extremely important for the entire ecosystem of a lake.
Some species of chrysophytes are colourless, but the vast majority is capable of carrying out photosynthesis. Interestingly enough, almost all chrysophytes can switch and start feeding on organisms or the remains of other organisms if they find themselves in an environment where light is to scarce for adequate photosynthesis. They are for instance known to feed on diatoms and bacteria. If placed in an environment where there is an abundance of dissolved food, golden algae can start feeing on it even if there is plenty of light as well.
The oldest examples of chrysophytes lived during the Cretaceous Period, the geological period that occurred from roughly 145 million years ago to about 65 million years ago, between the Jurassic Period and the Paleocene Period. The greatest diversity of golden algae was reached during the Miocene Period (about 23 to 5 million years ago).
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