Chara sp. an Unfamiliar Algal Element in our Biodiversity
Keywords:Charophyta, limestone ponds, Trinidad, biological control, calcium carbonate
Chara, is a freshwater, green algal genus with cosmopolitan distribution, a species of which can be found in abundance in the limestone ponds at Mayo, central Trinidad. The alga, a member of the Charophyta – a group considered to be ancestral to land plants - has many features of interest, among which are a protective jacket around the reproductive organs (a feature of land plants); true oogamous reproduction; a highly differentiated thallus; and the capacity to deposit calcium carbonate in the water in which it grows. It is also known to produce a substance that is toxic to mosquito larvae.