Ecology

Chlorophytes are found in diverse habitats all over the world. While most inhabit temperate, freshwater environments, marine and terrestrial forms also exist. Terrestrial forms include some living on moist soils, some on moist rocks, and some in snow-covered areas. Some terrestrial forms are specialized as lichens, a close association between an alga and a fungus, or living on animals such as turtles or sloths.

Because they are photoautotrophic, capable of making their own carbohydrates using sunlight energy, chlorophytes are critical to life on earth. Green algae are the planet's largest food source. They fix approximately 1,010 tons of carbon per year. As a result, they also contribute significantly to oxygen production.

Stephen S. Daggett

See also: Algae; Brown algae; Charophyceae; Chloro-phyceae; Chrysophytes; Cryptomonads; Diatoms; Eutrophication; Evolution of plants; Lichens; Marine plants; Photosynthesis; Phytoplankton; Protista; Red algae; Ulvophyceae.

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