Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon


share icon
share icon

What Is The Meaning Of Phycology?

The Branch of science that deals with the study of algae is called Phycology. It also consists of the study of different other prokaryotic organisms like blue-green algae and cyanobacteria. Many scientists also call this Branch of science as algology.The photosynthetic, eukaryotic organisms that are found in an aquatic environment which do not have real roots or leaves or stems and do not produce flowers are called algae. Phytoplanktons are unicellular, but algae-like seaweeds and sargassum are multicellular. The algae have many medicinal uses too. Some algae are even used to make life-saving drugs. Some of them can cure degenerative diseases too. For these medical reasons also, Phycology is an essential branch of science.

Study Of Algae

Every year, New species of algae are discovered. They are essential because they are the most primary plant in both salt and freshwater aquatic environments. The study of algae is called phycology, which is a subdivision of botany. Photosynthesis is the process to produce energy and give out oxygen. Algae are generally found in aquatic environments, but they can be found in any marine environment. Algae preferably travel in the form of spores and can be found in water, air, mixed with dust, and even inside us. It makes it very hard to track where algae can live. Algae are usually found in natural hot springs, on the surface of duck’s feet, on the surface of the belly of a whale, on the fur of polar bears in zoos, as scum on the surface of the water of the pond, and on the surface of snow and ice in the centre of the mountains. Algae can also be in the form of microscopic spores in destinations like Antarctica, or they can also grow up to 65 meters as kelp in an underwater sea forest.

Algae are generally associated with smelly swamps and scummy ponds. They are coloured, red, brown, or green. The colours usually come from their photosynthetic pigments. Photosynthesis is described as the ability for a plant to produce energy and give out oxygen. Algae is the most primary producer of oxygen on Earth. Without algae, we cannot survive as they are the primary producer of algae.

Applications Of Algae

Algae has been regarded as “the world’s most important plants.” A lot of development is devoted to the study of algology– a word that is frequently confused with psychology, which is ultimately another sector of science. Large universities which dedicate themselves to research regarding Phycology, massive corporations, and even everyday folks generate huge benefits from algae. It has incredible environmental, social and financial potential.

Algae is a primary ingredient in toothpaste. It is also one of the components of ice cream. They are generally used as food ingredients, fertilizers, thickeners, dyes, pharmaceuticals, fuels, pollution controls, nutritional supplements, sewage treatments, and animal feed. Algae are usually found in foods such as sushi and individual salads. Apart from food and medicine, there are many applications of algae. The researchers always try to dig out something or the other fact or experimental works regarding the algae.


One of the most important aspects of any branch of science is its culture. Like other branches of science, Phycology also has a separate stream of its culture that is algaculture. Algaculture is the process of farming of algae. It deals with the procedure of growing a plant very fast and in an environmentally friendly way. Most of the time, Algae farmers dedicate their time for farming and harvesting microalgae to be used for health supplements or biofuel. These new algae applications are a big deal and have generated some serious potential. Algae have even been regularly featured on many infotainment Channels like the “Dirty Jobs' '.

Solved Examples

1. What are some common algae?

Euglenophyta. Euglena gracilis / Algae. ...

Chrysophyta. Diatoms. ...

Pyrrophyta (Fire Algae) Dinoflagellates pyrolysis (Fire algae). ...

Chlorophyta (Green Algae) ...

Rhodophyta (Red Algae) ...

Phaeophyta (Brown Algae) ...

Xanthophyta (Yellow-Green Algae)

Fun Facts

Algae can usually range from giant kelp of about 100 ft. It extends varieties of microbes called cyanobacteria, which is also known as blue-green algae.

Cyanobacteria can also be used to make our breakfast smoothie. Spirulina is also known as the “superfood”.Non-toxic cyanobacteria are very popular for its nutritional profile, which includes proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

In Chad, the Kanembu people regularly harvest spirulina from local lakes for a very long time, since the 1940s, way ahead of the superfood trend. Even earlier, the Aztecs also used to eat a different species of the cyanobacteria, collected from the ancient Lake Texcoco — which regularly drains during colonial times — where Mexico City now stands.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Phycology

1. How Do Algae Affect Your Life?

The overgrowth of algae generally consumes much oxygen and blocks sunlight from underwater plants. Harmful algal blooms can usually occur in many lakes, reservoirs, rivers, ponds, bays and coastal waters, and the toxins which are produced can be toxic towards human health and aquatic life. Wrong or harmful algae generally blooms in local water bodies if they are not cleared or appropriately maintained.Even after thorough maintenance, due to heavy air pollution in the cities, these local water bodies develop a decent amount of algae layer on their surfaces. They need to be checked regularly and cleared up so that no human or species thriving in water gets affected.

2. What Happens If You Drink Water With Algae?

Water affected by algae is not at all suitable for drinking, recreation or agricultural use. Even Contacting with affected water can cause skin irritation, mild respiratory effects and hay fever-like symptoms. Digestion of the toxins can cause gastroenteritis symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches. If any of these symptoms occur, we must immediately contact a medical person who can advise or guide us about what to do and what not to. If the symptoms get more serious, we can invariably admit the affected person to the hospital where he/she can be taken care of carefully and in a dedicated manner.