Algae and Fungi are both living organisms but belong to different kingdoms of classification. Both of them are simple creatures and form the basis of their kingdom. Algae form the basis of the Kingdom Protista, and fungi form the basis for kingdom Mycota. Algae and Fungi differ from each other as Algae always needs to be in water or a water source nearby along with sunlight and chlorophyll to survive. But this does not apply to Fungi. Fungi feed on the dead and decayed matter and do not require sunlight and chlorophyll. Mushrooms can also be a variety of parasites, which are organisms that depend on the host for its survival.
An interesting fact about algae and fungi is that although there are significant differences between both algae and mildew, there are organisms that form a symbiotic relationship with algae and fungi. These are the hybrid versions of both these organisms called Lichens, that can produce their own by the process of photosynthesis. Also, they have the properties of fungi like shielding the plant from the sun's UV rays that help them to survive from the external environment.
Algae are a type of aquatic organisms which can conduct photosynthesis. Examples of algae are the phytoplanktons, kelps, and the alga bloom that are seen in lakes. Phytoplanktons are the first organisms that produce almost 70% of the oxygen on earth. Hence, it is one of the leading microorganisms to continue the oxygen cycle. Also, eukaryotic algae reproduce by the help of sexual reproduction. They are dimorphic, hence, produce both male and female gametes that unite to form the zygote. But in prokaryotic type, they produce motile spores that later divide by mitosis and grow into a new organism.
The Algae belong to the kingdom Protista. Algae is an umbrella term for many organisms that live in the water and which perform the function of photosynthesis. Most of the algae are found to be unicellular, but there also exist multicellular algae. They can be microscopic or macroscopic, in different shapes and sizes and can also have a leafy appearance like in the case of Giant Kelp. They lack a vascular system that circulates nutrients throughout the organism, which is present in higher plants.
Algae can include both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. In the prokaryotic organisms, there is a distinctive organism called cyanobacteria. The cyanobacteria are also known as blue-green algae. In the primitive era, during the formation of the earth, it is approximated that chloroplasts were only present in cyanobacteria. Plant organisms engulfed the cyanobacteria and thus photosynthesis was induced in the plants. Since then, plants perform the function of photosynthesis, and life could sustain on earth. But cyanobacteria are included in the kingdom monera as they do not have a well-defined nucleus.
Fungi are organisms that were first thought to be a part of plants. But later, as technology developed, it was observed that these organisms did not require sunlight for their nutrition. They neither perform photosynthesis nor have distinctive features like other higher plants like angiosperms. There is a range of simple to complex varieties of organisms present in Fungi. Fungi include all bodies from simple unicellular to complex multicellular organisms.
Fungi are organisms that obtain their nutrition from degrading and breaking down dead and rotten plants. There are fungi like yeast which are single-celled bodies that are economically important as it is used in the food and beverage industries. Fungi like mushrooms are one of the favorite cuisines of many countries. Mushrooms can also be harmful, which can damage the cells in the organism due to the presence of toxins in mushrooms.
The multicellular fungi cells are joined together and form rows that resemble that of branches of trees. These branches are called hyphae and are of two types. If the cells are arranged right next to each other in a continuous row, then it is called coenocytic hyphae. If a cross wall separates the hyphae into compartments, then it is called septate hyphae. The fungi cannot perform photosynthesis on their own and produce food. They decompose the organic matter to derive their nutrition, and hence they are heterotrophs.
Difference Between Algae and Fungi
Algae are autotrophs that produce their own food; they are a central component of the ecosystem as they provide almost 70% of the oxygen. They are the primary producers of the ecosystem; most of the aquatic organisms depend on them for their nutrients. They do not have developed roots, leaves, and shoot systems.
Fungi, on the other hand, are decomposers that gain their nutrition by breaking the dead and decayed organic matter. They have structures that resemble branches called hyphae, which are only present in multicellular organisms. They are also of ecological importance as decomposition of dead matter cleans the environment and also provides nutrients for the soil to grow. And also of economic significance as yeasts are used in the food industry, and mushrooms are an essential cuisine for humans and animals.