Custom Scrimshaw by Mark Thogerson
An ancient craft on natural materials

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bulletBacteria and Cyanobacteria
bullet"Plantlike" Protists other than green, red and brown algae
bulletFungi
bulletAlgae and Plants: Click on the pictures, words or phrases in the image below for more information..

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Green Algae (Chlorophyta)
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Characteristics: unicellular or colonial, with no coordination between cells; contain chlorophyll a & b, and are found in aquatic and marine habitats as well as on moist soil and other surfaces

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Brown (Phaeophyta) and Red (Rhodophyta) Algae
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Division Phaeophyta characteristics: contain chlorophyll a & c, as well as the pigment fucoxanthin; they are entirely marine and found in the intertidal and near-shore littoral zones.  Larger members such as kelp have specialized organ-like structures such as holdfasts, stemlike areas, leaflike areas, and gas-filled bladders for buoyancy. The "stems" have rudimentary vascular cells similar to phloem, but without accessory cells for pumping.material.

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Division Rhodophyta characteristics: contain chlorophyll a & c, and the pigment rhodopsin, which allows them to absorb more light in the blue end of the spectrum (therefore reflecting red wavelengths).  Many live in deeper marine waters (up to 100 m) where only blue and violet light penetrate.  Their photosynthesis changes the pH of the water immediately around them so CaCO3 precipitates on their surfaces, making them stiff and crunchy - hence the term "coralline".

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Hornworts (Anthocerophyta) and Liverworts (Hepatophyta)
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Characteristics: true plants with tissue-level organization, but without vascular tissue.  They live on moist soil and absorb water and nutrients directly through the cuticle.  The haploid gametophyte generation dominates and is called a thallus; the sporophyte is short-lived, growing directly from the archegonia.  Spores are often spread by rain-splatter.

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Mosses (Bryophyta)
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Characteristics: The photosynthetic gametophyte generation is dominant, while the sporophyte generation is rather short-lived, often non-photosynthetic, and parasitic on the host gametophyte.  The gametophyte generation may be either monoecious or dioecious.  They do not have true leaves with vascular tissue, but the stems have simple vascular tissue very similar to the xylem of larger plants, allowing them to stand above ground and bring water to the upper parts by capillary action.  Without secondary cell walls and ability to raise water very high, they are limited to a few centimeters in height.  They lack true roots and obtain much of their nutrition via cation exchange.

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Ferns (Pteridophyta), Horsetails (Arthrophyta) and Club Mosses (Lycophyta)
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Division Pteridophyta characteristics: Dominant, photosynthetic sporophyte and a tiny, short-lived, photosynthetic gametophyte called a prothallus.  The prothallus lacks a vascular system and is very similar to a liverwort.  The sporophyte has a well-develoed vascular system (true xylem and phloem) with true, functioning roots and true leaves with vascular tissue.  Sporangia are contained within sori ("fruitdots") that may be on the underside of photosynthetic leaves or on modified nonphotosynthetic fronds.

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Division Lycophyta characteristics: similar to ferns, but with short needle-like or scale-like leaves.  Plants are clonal, sometimes covering several hundred square meters; individual stems often look like tiny evergreen trees.  The sporangia are clustered in elongate strobili composed of modified leaves at the top of a stem.

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Division Arthrophyta characteristics: Photosynthetic stems and branches, with rings of vestigial (but vascular) leaves at the nodes.  Roots are small, few, and poorly developed.  Usually has two types of stems: a fertile stem that is unbranched terminated by a conical strobilus containing the spores, and a vegetative stem that is sparsely to densely branched in whorls at the nodes.  This division includes the tallest plants (sequoias and redwoods, > 100 meters) and the longest-lived (bristlecone pine, >5000 years)

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Cycads (Cycadophyta) and Conifers (Coniferophyta)
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Division Cycadophyta characteristics: resemble a short tree (no more than 5 m high) with a dense whorl of fernlike or palmlike leaves surrounding a strobilus of modified leaves in which true seeds develop.  Found in the old world tropics.

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Division Coniferophyta characteristics: Short to very tall trees exhibiting secondary growth.  Leaves are needle-like or scale-like; both leaves and branches are borne in whorls.  Most have an obligate mycorrhizal relationship,  Seeds and pollen are borne in separate strobili (staminate and pistillate) on the same plant, and seeds often take more than one year to develop.  Pollen is windborne, as are the seeds.

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Ginkgos (Ginkgophyta) and Gnetophytes (Gnetophyta)
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Division Ginkgophyta characteristics: This is a deciduous, broad-leaved gymnosperm with leaf veins and branches that branch dichotomously; leaves resemble little fans.  Staminate and pistillate gametangia are found on separate plants (dioecious).  The fruit is fleshy ands foul-smelling, and is believed to have been spread by birds, although propagation has been performed solely by humans for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  Found on the grounds of a remote Chinese monastery in the 1800's, the ginkgo is the last living member of a large division previously thought to have become extinct in the Cretaceous period.

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Division Gnetophyta characteristics: These bizarre plants have a few long, straplike leaves that continuously grow from their bases, so they are low, vinelike plants.  Staminate and pistillate gametangia are on the same plant (monoecious), and the fruit is fleshy and eaten by lizards and rodents that spread the seeds.  Only three species, and restricted to South and Southwest Africa.

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Monocots (Anthophyta:Liliopsida)
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Characteristics: Although some are tall, long-lived and treelike (bamboos, palms, and bananas), many are herbaceous and live from one to a few years.  Leaves have parallel or subparallel veins, roots tend to be fibrous in topology and growing from a single point just below ground, and stems have scattered vascular bundles that do not produce the ringlike secondary growth found in conifers and perennial dicots.  They have true flowers whose whorls tend to be in groups of 3 or 6.  The common name (monocot) refers to their seeds, whose embryos have only one cotyledon, or "seed leaf".  Together with dicots, the seeds of monocots have a tough seed coat that resists desiccation.  Although the younger of the two subphyla of angiosperms, Liliopsida has two of the three most species-rich families: Poaceae (grasses) with about 10,000 species and Orchidaceae (orchids) with about 18,000 species.

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Dicots (Anthophyta: Magnoliopsida)
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Charcteristics: Plants that range from short-lived annuals to long-lived trees.  Leaves have variously netted veins, roots tend to be branched (often with a deep taproot), and stems have vascular bundles in a ring around the outside of the stem, producing seasonal rings as the stem grows in girth.  Flower whorls tend to be in groups of 4 or 5, although some have over 6.  The common name (dicot) refers to the embryo, which has two cotyledons rather than one.  The largest family of angoisperms, the Asteraceae (daisies, dandelions and their kin) has over 35,000 species.

 

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