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Originally, there were two subsections in the Protist (a/k/a Protoctista) kingdom: the Phylum_Protozoa (the animal-like protists) and the Division_Algae (the plant-like protists). Both groups were previously members of the animal and plant kingdoms, respectively. When you study zoology and botany, these groups will be included in the review of the animal and plant kingdoms. Since the early days of the Protist kingdom in the 1800’s a few more groups have been added to the kingdom, including the fungus-like (slime_molds and water_molds) protists.

The Protozoa ("first animals") are the animal-like (heterotrophic, motile) Protists and are classified (in part) based upon their method of motility (such as cilia, pseudopods, and flagella). Representatives of this group are primarily unicellular or colonial.

The plant-like Protists are called algae. The main characteristics of algae include that they are aquatic, they range in size from unicellular to multicellular and they are photosynthetic. These organisms account for at least half of all photosynthetic organisms on Earth. One of the reasons they are not considered true plants is because they lack a waxy_cuticle. Another reason is that the algae have chlorophyll-A like the true plants, but differ in terms of other pigments. These organisms are ecologically important not just because of photosynthesis, but also because they are used either as food or in the preparation of some forms of food. The basis of their classification includes (1) type of pigment(s) and (2) type of storage product(s).

Laminaria is a brown marine_algae, All brown algae are multicellular and have leaf-like blades and stem-like stipes. They have a yellow-brown pigment called fucoxanthin. Their food reserves are stored as a carbohydrate unit known as laminarin. Examples of brown algae include Fucus and Sargassum.

This micrograph shows a section of a Laminaria blade with zoosporangia and sterile paraphyses.