algal taxonomy

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Wed Nov 12 13:16:52 EST 1997

At 5:01 PM -0500 11/11/97, Scott Shumway wrote:
>I am reviewing a textbook and have questions about some of the taxonomy in
>the text.
>What is the currently accepted division/phylum name for the
>dinoflagellates?  This text refers to them as the dinophyta.  I have never
>heard this name before.

Pyrrophyta is what I use.

>What is the commonly accepted kingdom for the macroalgae?  Are they plantae
>or protista?  Why?

Different people lump and split out the macroalgae
in different ways.  Reds, for example, are likley
to be split out into a separate kingdom as people
move to a "greater-than-five" kingdom system.  Even
with five kingdom systems, they have been treated
differently by different authors.  Some put the
pseudoparenchymatous algae (reds, greens, and browns)
into kingdom Plantae and limit the protists to more
strict unicellular types.  Others put ALL algae into
protista (except cyanobacteria of course).  Yet
others put GREEN algae only into the root of Plantae.

I like to think of kingdoms as connected with transitions
between for me having Chlorophyta either in
Protista or Plantae matters little...that it "connects"
at the base of Plantae IS what is important to me.  In
many ways bryophytes (Plantae by anyone's descriptions)
are elaborated algae, etc.  So I'm not too concerned with
making the kingdoms so discrete, but rather related.  To
me it is the only way it makes sense of evolution as a
basis for speciation.

Sometimes we get caught up in thinking of taxa as confining
boxes...if we do I think we lose sight of the process of
evolution.  I think of taxonomy in more of a backwards-flowing
river (flowing toward the tributaries) rather than as a
system of nested boxes.


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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