1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Algae/Limits of the algae

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After this survey of the four groups comprised under Algae it is easier to indicate the variations in the limits of the class as defined by different authorities. To consider the Cyanophyceae first, either the marked contrast in the method of nutrition of the generally colourless Bacteriaceae to that of the blue-green Limits of the algae. Cyanophyceae is regarded as sufficient ground for excluding Bacteriaceae from algae altogether, nitwithstanding their acknowledged morphological affinity with Cyanophyceae, or, in recognition of the incongruity of effecting such a separation, the whole group of the Schizophyta—that is to say, the Cyanophyceae in the narrow sense, together with Bacteriaceae, is included or excluded together. Again, while Conjugatae may be shut out from Cholophyceae as an independent group co-ordinate with them in rank, the Characeae constitute so aberrant a group that it has even been proposed to raise them as Charophyta to the dignity of a main division co-ordinate with Thallophyta. Similarly, while Diatomaceae may be excluded from among Phaecophyceae, though retained among algae, the Cryptomonadaceae and Peridiniaceae, like Euglena and other Chlorophyceae, may be excluded from Thallophyta and ranged among the flagellate Protozoa. It is doubtful, however, whether the conventional distinction between plants and animals will continue to be urged; and the suggestion of Haeckel that a class Protista should be established to receive the forms exhibiting both animal and plant affinities has much to recommend it on phylogenetic grounds. To adopt a figure, it is probable that the sources from which the two streams of life—animal and vegetable—spring may not be separable by a well-defined watershed at all, but consist of a great level upland, in which the waterways anastomose. Finally, while Chlorophyceae and Phaeophyceae exhibit important affinities, the Rhodophyceae are so distinct that the term “algae” cannot be made to include them, except when used in its widest sense.