What Are Characteristics of Phylum Chlorophyta?

Characteristics of the phylum chlorophyta vary by habitat, appearance, life cycle and reproductive techniques, according to Susquehanna University. Chlorophyta, also known as green algae, includes about 8,000 species that grow in diverse habitats from salt water to the surface of snow, Smithsonian Institute reports.

Green algae contain chlorophyll that converts sunlight to starch to be stored as a food reserve within their cells. Most species have rigid cell walls made of cellulose, saccharides and proteins. A mature colony of the species Volvox reproduces when a daughter colony revolves within the parent until it is torn apart and releases the new colony, according to Susquehanna University's Systematic Biology.

Certain members of chlorophyta are known as invasive species. Cladophora glomerata bloomed in Lake Erie in the 1960s because of phosphate pollution. Codium and Caulerpa threaten native plant life in coastal California, Australia, the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Sea. One invasive species, Caulerpa taxifolia, has been introduced into non-native environments due to its popularity in aquariums, according to The Seaweed Site.

All green algae were originally classified as one phylum but have since been reorganized because of the diversity among member species, according to The Seaweed Site. Some green algae is used as a dietary supplement; other species are believed to prevent cancer.