Green Algae are interesting, to say the least. They have caused quite a significant amount of trouble for taxonomists, as they present an incredible amount of similarities to protists and plants. The mostly nonmotile, photosynthesis, single-celled Pediastrum boryanum are also some of the most common green algae in the world. They form colonies in, mostly, even numbers and are important for several ecosystems. These can provide shade for larva and developing animals, while simultaneously acting as a food source for smaller animals. Research has been done to discover P. boryanum’s potential as a bio-fuel and waste-water management system. Regardless of whether or not green algae will be entirely confirmed as “plants”, I still see it neccessary to understand the (probable) ancestors of all land plants in order to better understand the plant kingdom as a whole.
Pediastrum boryanum (Green algae)
Hardiness Zones: does best in “warm” water (Unfortunately, warm is the only answer regarding temperature and I have found, and it happens to be subjective…)
Height: about 10 micrometers
Diameter: about 10 micrometers
Growth Rate: quick in full sun
Age: short-lived, as is common in singlecellular organisms
Root System: none
Subspecies: ‘brevicorne’, ‘boryanum’, ‘lonicorne’
Tolerates: Thick muddy conditions, part shade
Problems (major): Typical single-cellular problems
Problems (minor): Typical single-cellular problems
Poisonous: probably not
Soil requirements: unnecessary, P. boryanum do not actively latch to anything except each other
Air Requirements: Requires Nitrogen, this requirement is usually satisfied by the presence of animal waste.
Watering requirement: Must stay in freshwater of some sort
Sun requirement: Grows best in full sun
Depth: not sufficiently researched
Freshwater/Saltwater native: Freshwater
Location (Pond, Stream, River, Lake, Sea, Ocean): Ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, seas
Colonization: Colonies usually form in multiples of 8 (8, 16, 32, rarely up to 128 per colony); groups of 2 or 4 are less common.
Motility: Minimal to no manual movement, carried by currents
Nautical reproductive cycle: Zoospores (tiny motile spores) are produced to create another colony elsewhere.
Alternation of isomorphic/heteromorphic generations: presumably isomorphic (new cells look similar to their parent cell(s))
P. boryanum is one of the most common green algae. Colonies appear to have cells on the outside form “horns”. When in large enough numbers, these and other green algae look to the unaided eye as green slime in the water. P.boryanum is able to undergo photosynthesis and fix (combine) Nitrogen into a different state chemically.
P. boryanum clog the filtration of Zebra Mussels, a terrible pest for larger, native mussels. This has proven to be a fairly successful method of repelling a potentially invasive species, as the P. boryanum make it physically unable for the Zebra Mussels to eat anything, and subsequently survive. P. boryanum are used as a food source for many aquatic creatures and is sometimes used as cover for (usually) newly born animals, like salamanders. Potential use as a bio-fuel and waste-water management.
- Bold, Harold Charles, and John W. La Claire, II. The Plant Kingdom. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970. Print.
Several different colonies photographed by Y. Tsukii
A very high-quality image of a P. boryanum colony uploaded on 28, October, 2007 by Ralf Wagner
A colony of 8 P. boryanum
I do not own the rights of these images; all credit goes to its original creator(s).