13 Major Difference between Bryophytes and Algae with Table

What is the difference between bryophytes and algae?

Algae and bryophytes are primitive plants. Algae are aquatic plants while bryophytes are between aquatic and terrestrial plants. Bryophytes need water for their survival. Both algae and bryophytes are autotrophs.

The core difference between bryophytes and algae is that bryophytes are mostly terrestrial while algae are mostly aquatic plants.

difference between bryophytes and algae

What Are Bryophytes?

Bryophytes are non-vascular land plants and they belong to the kingdom Plantae. The gametophyte of the plant is dominant in their life cycle since they are spore-producing plants.

Bryophytes are mostly non-flowering and non-seed producing. Most bryophytes are autotrophs but a few like liverworts lack chlorophyll.

These plants grow in moist and shady places. They produce phenolic compounds that deter herbivores from consuming them.

The plants are macroscopic but their sizes tend to vary. They have rhizoids which act as roots to provide anchorage. They reproduce asexually through fragmentation.

What Are Algae?

Algae are plant-like organisms found on the surface of the water and they belong to Protista kingdom. The unicellular organism is found in fresh, marine, and wastewater.

They are the primary producers of the aquatic system since they have chlorophyll then enable them to make their own food.

They can reproduce either asexually or sexually. Their body size tends to vary since algae can either be microalgae or macroalgae.

Comparison Chart: Bryophytes vs Algae

Basic Terms Bryophytes Algae
Meaning These are non-vascular land plants that belong to Kingdom Plantae These are a plant-like organism that belongs to Protista kingdom
Habitat Terrestrial Aquatic
Role in Ecosystems Important buffer system to other plants Good for releasing breathable oxygen in the atmosphere
Unicellular/Multicellular Typically multicellular Can either be unicellular or multicellular
Mitospores Absent Present
Alteration of Generation Heteromorphic Isomorphic
Sporophyte Differentiation Tend to be differentiated into root, seta, and capsule No differentiation
Sporophyte Depend on gametophyte Independent  of gametophyte
Embryo Formed from zygote of the plant No embryo
Zygote Tend to remain in the archegonium Tend to be liberated in the mother plant
Female Sex Organ Archaegonium Oogonium
Sterile Jacket Tend to surround the sex organs Does not surround sex organs
Sexual Reproduction Occur only through oogamous Occur through isogamous, anisogamous or oogamous.
Asexual Reproduction Absent Zoospores, aplanospores and hypnospore
Growth and Reproduction Only apical cells Each and every cell in the body
Rhizoids Present in the form of smooth-walled and tuberculated Absent
Pores or Stomata For gaseous exchange Absent
Division of Labour Divides into photosynthetic and storage zones Do not exhibit division of labor
Plant Body Tend to be multicellular thalloid or leafy Tend to be unicellular or multicellular and filamentous, thalloid or leafy.

Core Differences between Bryophytes and Algae In Point Form

  1. Algae are aquatic plants while bryophytes are terrestrial plants
  2. Bryophytes belong to Plantae kingdom while algae belong to Protista
  3. Bryophytes are multicellular while algae are either unicellular or multicellular
  4. Algae do not show division of labor while bryophytes tend to show division of labor
  5. Algae lack stomata or pores while bryophytes have stomata or pores
  6. Bryophytes have rhizoids while algae do not have rhizoids
  7. Algae experience asexual reproduction while bryophytes do not
  8. Algae release breathable oxygen into the atmosphere while bryophytes produce a buffer system for other plants
  9. Each and every cell in algae tend to experience growth and reproduction while bryophytes tend to experience only apical cells growth and reproduction
  10. Bryophyte sexual reproduction occur in the oogamous while in algae occur in the isogamous, anisogamous, or oogamous.
  11. The sex organs of bryophytes are surrounded by a sterile jacket which is absent in algae sex organs
  12. The female sex organs of algae are Oogonium while that of bryophytes are Archaegonium
  13. The zygote of algae are liberated from the mother plant while that of bryophyte tend to remain in the archegonium
  14. Algae do not form embryo while bryophyte tend to form an embryo
  15. The sporophyte of algae is independent of gametophyte while that of bryophyte dependent on the gametophyte.

Similarities between Bryophytes and Algae

  1. Both plant bodies is thalloid and undifferentiated
  2. Both are not differentiated into leaves, stems, and roots
  3. Both have gametophyte generation which is prominent
  4. Both lack true roots
  5. Both have major photosynthetic pigment
  6. Both are autotrophs
  7. Both are non-vascular bundle plants
  8. Both have a cell wall made of cellulose
  9. Both undergo vegetative reproduction
  10. Both need water for fertilization
  11. Both experience alternation of generation
  12. Both cell walls contain pectin
  13. Both foods are stored as starch

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Comparison Video


The main difference between algae and bryophytes is that algae are aquatic plants while bryophytes are terrestrial plants. The good news is that both store manufactured food as starch and they experience an alternation of generation.

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