Structure of Thallus in Algae
Examples of the distinctive morphological characteristics within different divisions are summarized
in Table 1.3.
Unicells and Unicell Colonial Algae
Many algae are solitary cells, unicells with or without flagella, hence motile or non-motile. Nannochloropsis (Heterokontophyta) (Figure 1.1) is an example of a non-motile unicell, while
Ochromonas (Heterokontophyta) (Figure 1.2) is an example of motile unicell. Other algae exist as
aggregates of several single cells held together loosely or in a highly organized fashion, the
colony. In these types of aggregates, the cell number is indefinite, growth occurs by cell division
of its components, there is no division of labor, and each cell can survive on its own. Hydrurus (Heterokontophyta) (Figure 1.3) forms long and bushy non-motile colonies with cells evenly distributed
throughout a gelatinous matrix, while Synura (Heterokontophyta) (Figure 1.4) forms freeswimming
colonies composed of cells held together by their elongated posterior ends. When the
number and arrangement of cells are determined at the time of origin and remain and constant
during the life span of the individual colony, colony is termed coenobium. Volvox (Chlorophyta)
(Figure 1.5) with its spherical colonies composed of up to 50,000 cells is an example of motile
coenobium, and Pediastrum (Chlorophyta) (Figure 1.6) with its flat colonies of cells characterized
by spiny protuberances is an example of non-motile coenobium.
FIGURE 1.1 Transmission electron micrograph of
Nannochloropsis sp., non-motile unicell.
(Bar: 0.5 µm.)
FIGURE 1.2 Ochromonas sp., motile unicell.
(Bar: 4 µm.)
FIGURE 1.3 Non-motile colony of Hydrurus foetidus.
FIGURE 1.4 Free-swimming colony of Synura uvella.
FIGURE 1.5 Motile coenobium of Volvox
FIGURE 1.6 Non-motile coenobium of Pediastrum simplex.