Algae vs Seaweed: Difference and Comparison

Microorganisms are available in large-scale diversity at the global level. It can combat the exceptional chemical and context background.

Abundant microorganisms are in primaeval places in undersea ecosystems by capturing the sun’s stamina through photosynthesis and with their performance in decomposition, dispensing of the minerals stored in organic tissue.

Autotrophic creatures are labelled as “Algae. “Micro-organism” is the term used to be defined as the organisms that carry out photosynthesis.

The cyano-bacteria are termed algae. They vary in size from small (microscopic) to large groups (macrophytes).

Algae and seaweed are well-defined and contrasting relationships of aquatic entities that are both photosynthetic. Both are eukaryotes that come under the kingdom of “Protista”. 

Their cell walls are incorporated with cellulose. By diffusion, both of them excerpt nutrients from the water.

Key Takeaways

  1. Algae are aquatic, plant-like organisms found in freshwater, saltwater, or moist soil, while seaweed is algae that grow in the ocean.
  2. Algae are unicellular or multicellular organisms, while seaweed is multicellular.
  3. Algae are mostly used for food, medicine, and other industrial purposes, while seaweed is mainly used as food and in various products such as cosmetics and fertilizers.

Algae vs Seaweed

Algae are diverse aquatic organism that includes single-celled and multicellular species. Seaweed is a large, multicellular, macroscopic algae. Algae can take many forms, including single cells, filaments, and colonies. Seaweed has a leafy or visible branching structure.

Algae vs Seaweed

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Algae are found eminently in water bodies, while seaweed grows in shallow marine waters 100 m in depth. Moreover, both play a crucial role in ecosystems as primary and essential producers.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlgaeSeaweed
DefinitionChlorophyll consists of organisms present in
Aquatic habitats like the sea, marine water
and freshwater bodies
Similar to a plant structure that binds
oneself to other rigid and impenetrable
substances in Aquatic habitats.
Comprises ofAbout 3,20,500 breeds/speciesAbout 10000 breeds/species
Bestows asPrime producers in the Aquatic food chainCrucial breeding ground for fisheries and
marine varieties.
Type of habitationIn the sea, marine and freshwater habitationOnly in marine habitation
Type of plantEither heterotrophic or autotrophicCompletely Autotrophic
Found asFree-floating or beneath the waterBeneath the water
AppearancesEither Macroscopic or microscopicParticularly macroscopic
Type of micro-organismsBoth multi-cellular and unicellularSolely multi-cellular
Grows eminently inDeep and Shallow waterShallow marine waters (below 100m)
Example of speciesUnicellular ‘Micro-algae’ like Diatoms and
Chlorella to ‘Macro-algae’ like Large brown algae

What is Algae?

Algae, one of the world’s most basic or paramount organisms, come under the kingdom of “Protista”. Algae are said to be both prokaryotic as well as eukaryotic organisms.

Their structure can be defined as unicellular or multicellular. They can be macroscopic and microscopic.

They can live in any aquatic environment, including freshwater, marine, and even brackish water. All the Algae bodies are photosynthetic and autotrophic, with a few heterotrophs.

They conjointly produce an ample amount of energy by photosynthesis because of the presence of Chlorophyll in them. There are abundant species of their type in the world.

Additionally, they produce a huge value of about 70% of the earth’s atmospheric oxygen. They have very simple cellular structures.

There are totally three divisions of algae are:

  1. Chlorophyta (commonly known as “Green Algae”)
  2. Rhodophyta (known as “Red Algae”)
  3. Phaeophyta ( frequently known as “Brown Algae”)

All of the above vary because of the amalgamation of photosynthetic pigments endowed in the plant bodies. The Green algae are a diverse class of algae with chlorophyll, xanthophylls, and beta-carotene.

Although phycoerythrin is an important type of photosynthetic pigment present in Rhodophyta, on the other hand, the two key pigments found in Phaeophyta are chlorophyll and fucoxanthin.


What is Seaweed?

Seaweeds are elementary plants belonging to the ” Algae ” family. It is also called “Marine macroalgae”. They can survive only in Marine water (seawater).

It can be defined as an assertive class of plants with dissimilar properties. These plant-like organisms adhere to rock or another solid substrate in sea-side areas. They reside with over 10,000 species, which are classified into three groups:

  1. Phylum Ochrophyta (Brown algae) – found in brown or green-yellow colour  
  2. Phylum Rhodophyta (Red algae)
  3. Phylum Chlorophyta (Green algae)

Both brown and red algae are completely found in Marine water, while Green algae are found commonly in freshwaters such as lakes and rivers and terrestrial areas like walls, houses, tree barks, rocks, and damp places.

Humans use seaweeds in copious ways as they have ample amounts of vitamins and nutrients like:

  1. Fertilizer
  2. Medicine
  3. Food (famous Carrageenan agar and other gelatinous products)
  4. Industrial products

The structure of seaweed is somewhat simple and insignificant. They use the diffusion process to extract nutrients from the water for transportation.


Main Differences Between Algae and Seaweed

  1. Algae can be autotrophic or heterotrophic, while Seaweed is only autotrophic.
  2. Multi-cellular and unicellular micro-organisms are present in the Algae family, whereas Seaweed is found as completely multi-cellular organisms.
  3. Algae can survive in any water body, while seaweed can only live in marine habitation.
  4. Algae produce 70% of the world’s atmospheric oxygen.
  5. While Seaweed can be edible and used by humans in many ways, Algae supports by creating a higher rate of sun’s energy through photosynthesis.
Difference Between Algae and Seaweed

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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