Green Seaweed: Characteristics, classification, properties and more

The Green Seaweed or Chlorophyta are characterized by having chlorophyll a and b; which  give originates their color. They also possess carotenoids and xanthophylls, which protect their cells from insolation.

There are more than 7,000 known species of green seaweed, being 800 of them marine species. The rest are terrestrial and freshwater seaweed. Most terrestrial green seaweed can be found near puddles, walls and tree bases, where moisture makes them proliferate.

Now, we invite you to know all about the properties and characteristics of this species…

Green Seaweed: Main Characteristics

Green seaweed belong to the Plantae Kingdom, and they produce energy through the process of photosynthesis. The chlorophyll allows them to absorb sunlight, to transform it into food to stay alive.

They can inhabit any ecosystem, even in adverse environments. Only 10% are marine-type, the rest belong to freshwater, and where ever they inhabit they always need sunlight.

They can be unicellular and most of this species are found on the bottom of marine soils. However, some of them may be suspended in the water.

There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes of Green Seaweed, and their reproduction is asexual. Some of these algae are very similar to small plants, where stems, leaves and roots are distinguished. Others live associated with fungi forming lichens.


Classification of  Green  Seaweed

Taxonomically Green Seaweed can be classified into two divisions:


Chlorophyta are eukaryotic organisms, mostly aquatic photosynthetic type. All species of this group, contain chlorophyll a and b and  they store reserves substances such as starch.

Both unicellular and multicellular organisms are found in this division. Although most of these seaweed live in fresh water, there are also many of them in marine environments, being able to get adapted to any changes in their habitat.

green seaweed . clorophytaSome species can establish themselves in the trunks of trees, and in cases such as lichens, they develop symbiotic relationship with fungi.

This order also contains flagellated species, which have mobility skills.  They can also reproduce sexually and asexually.

Chlorophyta  Green Seaweed are classified in turn in the following groups:

Prasinophyta: this is a group of green unicellular microseaweed, and they are also  flagellated.  They are considered the most primitive seaweed, since they have low cellular complexity.

Fossilized remains of this species  have been found from the Proterozoic age. For this reason they are considered the ancestors of the Plantae Kingdom.

Chlorophytina: this is a new taxon of green seaweed, and they are the most complex class because of their multicellular development. The  presence of ficoplasts, which are microtubules observed during the cytokinesis of these seaweed, is considred the main reason of their complex structures.


They are close relatives to the land plants. In some groups such as conjugated  seaweed, there is an absence of flagella. This group is classified into five divisions:

Mesostigma Phyceae:

This is a kind  of green seaweed  formed by a unicellular seaweed

Klebsormidium Phyceae:

This a group of green seaweed, which comprises three filamentous and multicellular genera without ramifications.


They are conjugate seaweed that can be unicellular and multicellular. They live in freshwater and they reproduce by conjugation.  These specimens  are genetically close to the terrestrial plants.


They are characterized by their  filamentous and annular shape, with apical growth or on the margins of the disk.

They grow on submerged rocks or fresh water plants. They reproduce asexually by simple zoospores in cells.

Charophyceae :

These are carals  seaweed, which contain chlorophyll a and b, being the only specimens of this classification considered as macro seaweed, since they can reach up to 60 cm in length. Most of them  grow in freshwater and  they are the closest ones to the terrestrial plants.

Reproduction of Green Seaweed

Green seaweed can reproduce vegetatively, by fragmentation and sexually by:

Hologamy: occurs when the whole seaweed functions as a gamete merging with another equal. This process takes place in unicellular green seaweed.

Conjugation: this type of reproduction occurs in filamentous seaweed. To carry out this procces, one of the seaweed takes the role of male and the other is the  female, joining both strands in parallel.

There are connecting tubes between their cells, and the cellular content pass through them from one to another side. This causes a zygospore, which can remain dormant for a long time before forming a new filament.

Planogamy :consists in the reproduction by mobile gametes, both male and female. Since both contain flagella that allows them to mobilize.

Oogamy: in this case the female gamete is immobile, because it does not have flagella. The fertilization can also be external, when it is released from the structure that initially formed it, and internal if it stays fixed.

The Green Seaweed’s Life Cycle

The life cycle of green seaweed can be described as follows…

Monogenetic: includes a unique generation with one or two load of chromosome;  and a diploid or haploid nuclear phase.


Digenetic:  there is an alternation of two generations, that may be isomorphic or heteromorphic.;  depending on whether their  morphologies are similar  or different. In this case one of them, will try to dominate over the other. In this process, a generation will be haploid and  the other one diploid.

Green seaweed  have different types of longevity. There are species such as the Codium tomentosum that are perennial, thus they  live for many years; and there are also  seasonal species, that with the proper conditions of light and  nutrients, grow quickly, even forming the famous Green tides..

Filamentous Green Seaweed

These seaweed have chlorophyll a and b, along with other types of pigments that in no case become dominant. They are mainly  found in fresh water, and also in brackish waters, but not very often.

They are characterized by having cells in the form of filaments, similar

To hair or compact bunches. This genus is called Spirogyra.

In this category of filamentous seaweed there is an unpleasant species,  that is formed in domestic aquariums and is called the Cladophora.

It  can be observed as a group of dark green filaments, that can grow fixed to substrates or other plants.

A big supply of  light and nutrients are required for the developmnet of Cladophora.

They have a preference for nitrates and phosphate contained in the water of domestic aquariums and fish tanks. So if there is an imbalance due to excess, they will develop quickly. So,we must take care about these seaweed, since it could be difficult to eliminate them…


The main causes of the spontaneous growth of filamentous green seaweed in aquariums are listed following:

An imbalance between nitrate and phosphate, which is generally produced by the lack of the first and an excess of the second.

In the same way the lack or few presence of  plants, and an amount of nitrate above normal values, also make these seaweed grow in aquariums.

So it’ s important to maintain a fertilizer according to the number of plants that we place in the fish tank.

    • Insufficient filtration and few biological load. This is because the filters don´t have the necessary power to maintain the aquarium. You should always keep in mind, hat their power is measured outside the water, and when installed, it decreases approximately 40% of its factory capacity. So, it is better to choose one with more power than that required.
    • Excess of direct light, or total lack of lighting in the aquarium.
    • Absence or deficiency of carbon dioxide CO2
    • Absence of plants or few quantities. It is possible that there are more nitrates than the number of plants that can take advantage of them. So the seaweed take advantage of this situation to feed and grow.
    • Contamination by other plants already infected.

      How to eliminate filamentous seaweed

      In the same way than  filamentous seaweed , another unpleasant species may appear, such as red seaweed. They can be eliminated as follow:

    • Decrease nitrate levels, if necessary, with active carbon, constant water changes ,and placing enough plants, so that the filamentous seaweed don´t  have nutrients to feed on. Once you  have controlled the levels of nitrate, reorganize the aquarium’s decoration. 
    • Manually eliminate all seaweed that have arisen spontaneously. If possible, cut the leaves of  those plants that don´t  look in good condition. Siphon the substrate to remove any debris that has fallen during the process.
    • Change the water weekly, this eliminates the excess of phosphate that may be present.
    •  Check the filtration, the biological load, volume and movement of the filter. Avoid dead elements and if possible incorporate a small pump that generates a certain swell or movement of the water.
    •  Maintain a constant flow of CO2, especially if it does not affect the fish. Keep the lamp on, for at least 8 or 9 hours a day.
    • Introduce certain invertebrate fish that feed on these seaweed, especially Japonic Caridina, Crossocheilus Siamensis or any variety of Stiphodon. In any case, this eliminates the seaweed momentarily but does not correct the cause of its appearance.

Now, we invite to watch this video, in order to learn useful tips about how to  clean your Aquarium…

Terrestrial Green Seaweed

There are four  known species of these terrestrial seaweed:.

Phycopeltis Arundinacea

This is a type of seaweed that forms circular patches on the leaves of the trees. They have orange coloration and can measure 1.5 mm in diameter.

They are made up of a single layer of cylindrical  cells that are arranged forming radial filaments, being theradial cells wider than the central ones..

They reproduce asexually by tetra flagellated zoospores and sexually through biflagellate isogametes.

They grow mainly on plants, Ivy, laurel cherry, Holly, and some types of ferns.


Phycopeltis Epiphyton

This is a type of green alga that forms orange, green, yellowish or golden discs over upper plants. They can measure up to 5 cm  in diameter.

It has a polygonal shape, although under unfavorable conditions, it can grow in the form of filaments; since the cells divide irregularly.

This talus is formed by a single layer of cells, approximately 4 to 5 microns wide and between 2 to 4 times longer than wide. They can be arranged forming radial filaments. They reproduce asexually by tetra flagellate zoospores and sexually by biflagellate isogametes.


Rosenvingiella Radicans

This  is a filamentous alga with  an uniseriate and pluriseriate stem, of dark green color. They can measure from 5 to 20 microns in width and are constituted by a starred axial chloroplast and a central pyrene.

Unicellular rhizoids can also be observed throughout the thallus, usually in pairs, although sometimes they are usually solitary.

The function of these rhizoids is to fix the filament to the substrate.

They live in urban areas, on different types of substrates, such as floors, walls, paintings and wood. Any place with a humid environment.


 Trentepohlia Abietina

These green seaweed form small patches  slightly padded ,of approximately 2 millimeters in height. They are formed by a system of uniseriate filaments, quite branched.

They reproduce asexually through zoospores and sexually by biflagellate gametes , that in turn form sessile gametangians. They live mainly in the bark of trees, but also in limestone cuttings in contact with forests and wetlands.


Importance of Green Seaweed

As all seaweed, these planst have specific properties, which have been studied recently, making of them quite useful and popular…


Green marine seaweed are the basis of the food chain in the sea, since they are the main producer of  phytoplankton. They also have a big  importance,  since they accumulate carbon in coastal areas, performing this way the role of bio indicators of pollution and degrader  of toxic substances, that could be present in the seas.

Moreover, they employ solar energy to perform recirculating functions of abiotic substances. In fact almost all the organic and inorganic materials present in the sea, pass through these seaweed.

In this way, in conjunction with the marine grass, the mangroves and the phytoplankton; they are the basis of the productivity of marine communities.


The seaweed are very important for the economy of many  countries ; especially for the environmental factor.

In coastal regions, especially those that base their economies on fishing or exploitation of marine products,  the seaweed have  a very important role in detecting any imbalance within the ecosystem. This way, the sea’s products  will be in better conditions to be consumed both in the local market and abroad.

In the cosmetic area, seaweed have reached an essential position, although in eastern cultures they have  been used since a long time ago, their employ to manufacture creams, soaps and products not only for beauty, but also for personal hygiene, has grown quickly in the recent years.

In the alimentary  industry, there are also a big  number of foods and recipes, that are based on seaweed  such as the nori seaweed .

They are employed mainly in many light products, replacing eggs, flours and butters, as thickeners and to give texture to certain foods for human consumption.

Finally, they are also employed  in the pharmaceutical industry, to create the packages of several medicines, suppositories and pills. There are also studies that indicate its antioxidant, antibiotic and hemostatic effects.  Many products of food for pets, are based on green seaweed.

Properties and Benefits of Green Seaweed

 Seaweed are undoubtly the biggest  marine wealth, since they are quite important to mantain the  proper echological balance of the seas and oceans.

They provide to all the species, large amounts of minerals such as vitamins, proteins, amino acids, trace elements, iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium,zinc, among others.

We can mention  their power to hydrate and  the ionic regulation, which they produce in conjunction with the increment of cellular metabolic exchanges.

Likewise, the treatments with alga therapy activate the natural defenses of the body, since they have antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-aging and skin regenerator properties.

Moreover, they are widely used to aid in lymphatic drainage along with massages for cellulite treatments.

They have great slimming properties, and they also help eliminate fat excess, cholesterol and   toxins. Many of these properties are also found in red seaweed

Effects on the skin

Green seaweed are highly appreciated by women, especially due to their slimming effects,and for their properties to provide fresh texture to creams and body lotions. Many products have been developed, which combine the properties of clay with seaweed. Thus they repower the benefits of both natural elements.

The green seaweed also have great benefits,for dietary requirements,  since they satisfy hunger in few amounts. They are used both in foods, slimming medications, and in showers to stimulate the blood circulation and to eliminate toxins.

This plants are also employed  in thalassotherapy treatments, which help stimulate circulation,  and to fight against  cellulite.

The application of seaweed in conjunction  with thermotherapy by infrared rays, has a sedative effect on pain and relaxation on muscle contractions.

The green seaweed baths are also highly recommended, since they activate metabolism, circulation and because of their sedative effects. They help to decongest edematous skins, with excess of  fat or with a lot of flaccidity. They also fight against infectious processes on the skin, disinfecting and deflating; due to their concentrations of minerals like iodine.

Main Uses of Green Seaweed

 Among their  main uses we can mention the following:

    •  Make a seaweed wrap, mixing a small quantity of this plant finely chopped with  hot water. You will get a relaxing, sedative and anti-inflammatory effect. It also remineralizes the body, eliminates toxins through sweating and stimulates lymphatic circulation. This wrap therapy is indicated to relieve pain after bone and muscle trauma. rheumatisms, sequel of polio, edema, skin diseases, weight problems, cellulite and to combat stress.
    • Use it in the bathtub with warm water. The mineral salts and trace elements  of this algae, provide a de-stressing and relaxing effect, and they are also beneficial for the skin,
    •  The diets based on seaweed are highly recommended to combat malnutrition and food imbalances of all kinds, since they provide proteins, nutrients, minerals and amino acids that revitalize the body.
    •  Seaweed therapies  promote growth, states of fatigue, demineralization, chronic rheumatism, overload and premature aging.
    •  Green seaweed are often employed in cosmetics, since they allow to regulate the physiology of the skin, preventing cutaneous aging and all the physical aspect in general.

Green Seaweed: Tires and biofuel 

These  seaweed  represent the future of many key scopes for humans, according to specialized opinions…


Despite what many may believe, the green seaweed can become  in the best option for the future of bio-rubbers, according to an investigation carried out by the professor of the University of Girona Félix Carrasco. The private company Pirelli is serving as sponsor of this new experience. 

This new material, surpassed the standard tests  that are usually applied to the rubber, in the manufacture of tires; especially in aspects such as density, hardness, strength, traction, viscosity and heating, among other .

Concluding that this material maintains its properties, according to safety regulations.

The  researching engineer explains that «seaweed, a natural and renewable resource, contains polysaccharides, which allow to replace amorphous silica, with the added benefit that it is a raw material at no cost, while silica costs 1.06 euros per kilogram . It would be to collect the seaweed, let them dry and grind them to a diameter of 200 micrometers, since it is essential that the powder obtained be fine to ensure its dispersion in the bio rubber.

Bio Fuel

Recently, the first  flight (a Boeing 737-800) propelled by a mixture of biodiesel derived from seaweed and fuel, was completed. The aircraft, pertaining  to  Continental Airlines company, completed a 90-minute journey through the Gulf of Mexico. This was the last of several  tests that have been carried out by  the aviation industry, in order to begin the employ of biofuels in five years.

Also recently another Boeing aircraft from Air Zealand , carried out the first test of second generation  of biodiesel,  in order to employ it in commercial aviation.

The test was carried out, with a biodiesel made from a mixture of 50 percent jatropha and Jet A1 fuel, in a Boeing 747-400 aircraft, equipped with Rolls Royce RB211 engines.

The bio-fuel  is a new source of energy similar to oil, with all its products and advantages, but without its drawbacks: it does not increase CO2 emissions (carbon dioxide) but reduces them, and does not provide SO2 ( sulfur dioxide), in addition to the practical absence of harmful by-products.

The resulting product is much more productive and profitable than any of those developed so far in the biofuels sector.

It ensures a production 400 times higher than any other biofuel known to date, and based on the use of plants including other seaweed. On the other hand, it does not require large areas for being  produced.

Finally, it is a source of continuous, inexhaustible and non-polluting energy production because it does not mobilize fossil carbon, but uses excess carbon (CO2).

We invite you to watch this video, to learn more about the employ of seaweed as Bio fuel


Green seaweed are a marine species  that belong to the Plantae Kingdom. They provide  many benefits for the planet, the ecosystem and the human beings. There have been many investigations, that have proven  the huge benefits of this wonderful species.

Benefits that go from improving the well-being of people  in an integral way, up to maintaining the balance of the great marine ecosystems.

And now we know, their new uses in the industrial and technological scopes, which show us that seaweed are an invaluable resource for the future of humanity.

Undoubtely  this wonderful marine species  offers to the new generations, the possibilities of a good life… in harmony with nature…

Finally, we invite you to watch  this video , so you can learn the delicious flavor of an exquiste dish made of green seaweed…

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