Hi everyone, I'm glad to know there's a group for biologists (I was just asking in another forum here about such a place because I wanted to start one on my own!) - I'm a biology undergrad and there's something that's been nagging me a few weeks now about algae evolution. Apparently, the evolution of different algae phyla introduces disparate rates of evolution for different traits, for example: isogamy compared to oogamy, sporophytic stage emphasis and development in comparison to gematophytic stage, etc. What I don't get is how can a plausible phylogeny be discerned if the various phyla show such a mesh of developed and undeveloped traits? One good example is Volvox and Chara, Volvox has oogamy and Chara doesn't, even though Chara is much more developed in other respects.

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