Marine ALGAE widely distributed in the ocean, occurring from the tide level to considerable depths, free-floating (planktonic) or anchored to the substratum (benthic). They lack a specialized vascular system but take up fluids, nutrients, and gases directly from the water. They contain CHLOROPHYLL and are photosynthetic, but some also contain other light-absorbing pigments. Many are of economic importance as FOOD, fertilizer, AGAR, potash, or source of IODINE.
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