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phaeophyte Any member of the phylum Phaeophyta, which consists of the brown algae. Phaeophytes are part of the kingdom Protoctista. Classified by some biologists as plants, the simple organisms belonging to this group are mostly marine, found mainly in the intertidal zone of rocky shores. They include familiar seaweeds such as Fucus (wracks) and Ascophyllum (bladderwrack). The largest, Macrocystis, grows to more than 100m (320ft) at up to 0.5m (18in) per day. Sargassum forms vast floating masses in the Sargasso Sea in the mid-Atlantic, with their own distinctive communities of animals and microorganisms. See also Protoctist