Glossary

Algae
a general term applied to aquatic, photosynthetic organisms of simple construction (unicells to fronds) with primitive reproductive organs.
Blooms
excessive growth of one to a few fast-growing, environmentally-tolerant species which outcompete other cyanobacterial or algal species to exploit the environmental conditions associated with nutrient enrichment. Blooms of algae and cyanbacteria have increased in last 5 decades due to the impacts of human-induced disturbances.
Chlorophyll
green pigment found in all photosynthetic organisms, sometimes concealed by other pigments such as the red pigment in the red algae.
Colony or colonial growth form
many cells of similar form and function loosely grouped together.
Cyanobacteria
unicellular or filamentous organisms that, like other bacteria, lack membranes enveloping their internal cellular structures. Also incorrectly known as bluegreen algae due to their pigment composition and ability to photosynthesise.
Drifts
accumulations of between 10 and 50 species of algae and cyanobacteria which have been dislodged from the substrate following storm activity.
Epiphyte
an organism that attaches to and grows upon a living plant while remaining independent of it except for support.
Filamentous
long thread-like structure, of fairly uniform diameter, either unbranched (resembling human hair) or branched.
Flagella
hair-like extensions from cells that beat to propel the cell through water.
Fucoxanthin
brown photosynthetic pigment found in brown algae, diatoms and some other phytoplankton groups.
Invertebrate
animals lacking a backbone.
Nonmotile
not capable of movement, stationary.
Peridinin
red photosynthetic pigment found in dinoflagellates.
Photosynthesis
process that uses solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugars and oxygen. Occurs in terrestrial and aquatic plants, algae and cyanobacteria.
Phycocyanin
blue photosynthetic pigment found in cyanobacteria and some algal groups.
Phycoerythrin
red photosynthetic pigment found in cyanobacteria, red and some other algal groups.
Phytoplankton
microscopic, photosynthetic organisms which float or drift in the water column.
Thallus
simple body or growth form of algae and cyanobacteria.
Vertebrate
animals that have backbones.