Electronic Flora of South Australia Family Fact Sheet

Phylum CHRYSOPHYTA Pascher

Thallus microscopic to macroscopic, mostly unicellular or colonial, in some groups filamentous and septate or coenocytic, with plastids containing chlorophylls a and c (not b), with a predominance of carotenoids (usually including fucoxanthin) which give a golden or yellow-green colour to most taxa. Food reserve is chrysolaminarin. Motile cells (vegetative, spores or gametes) usually biflagellate with the anterior flagellum pinnate with mastigonemes and the posterior one smooth; or biflagellate with both flagella smooth; or with a single pinnate flagellum (sperm of diatoms).

Taxonomic notes: This phylum comprises six classes of rather divergent groups of algae, and includes the Chrysophyceae, the coccolithophorids, and the diatoms. Only one class, the Xanthophyceae, includes macrophytic marine taxa (excluding colonial diatoms). The unicellular and colonial groups commonly have both freshwater and marine representatives.

Text books on the algae, such as Bold & Wynne (1985), should be consulted for an account of the great diversity of algae included in the Chrysophyta, but one genus (Vaucheria) of the Xanthophyceae is often conspicuous on sandy-mud shores just above low tide level, sometimes extending into the sublittoral.


BOLD, H.C. & WYNNE, M.J. (1985). Introduction to the Algae: Structure and reproduction. 2nd Edn. (Prentice-Hall: New Jersey.)

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part II complete list of references.

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (14 December, 1987)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part II
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