Free-floating minute organisms that are photosynthetic. The term is non-taxonomic and refers to a lifestyle (energy utilization and motility), rather than a particular type of organism. Most, but not all, are unicellular algae. Important groups include DIATOMS; DINOFLAGELLATES; CYANOBACTERIA; CHLOROPHYTA; HAPTOPHYTA; CRYPTOMONADS; and silicoflagellates.
A non-taxonomic term for unicellular microscopic algae which are found in both freshwater and marine environments. Some authors consider DIATOMS; CYANOBACTERIA; HAPTOPHYTA; and DINOFLAGELLATES as part of microalgae, even though they are not algae.