Algae (ˈ or ˈ; singular alga ˈ, Latin for "seaweed") are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps
Macrocystis pyrifera, commonly known as Giant kelp or Giant bladder kelp, is a species of kelp , and one of four species in the genus Macrocystis...
that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...
s, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many distinct organs found in land plants
The land plants or embryophytes, more formally Embryophyta or Metaphyta, are the most familiar group of plants. They are called 'land plants' because they live primarily in terrestrial habitats, in contrast with the related green algae that are primarily aquatic. The embryophytes include trees,...
. The largest and most complex marine forms are called seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...
Though the prokaryotic
The prokaryotes are a group of organisms that lack a cell nucleus , or any other membrane-bound organelles. The organisms that have a cell nucleus are called eukaryotes. Most prokaryotes are unicellular, but a few such as myxobacteria have multicellular stages in their life cycles...
cyanobacteria (commonly referred to as blue-green algae) were traditionally included as "algae" in older textbooks, many modern sources regard this as outdated as they are now considered to be bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...