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[APD] RE: Algae spores
I wanted to correct a couple points you made about spores and taxonomy. Red algae are not bacteria, they are protists (although protists are really a garbage bag of everything that isn't a plant, fungus, animal or bacterium) and are actually the closest living relatives to the green algae and land plants.
Plants form spores all the time, its critical to how they reproduce sexually. Actually you are closer to correct if you refer to green algae only and not include the land plants, but I'm sure that at least some green algae make spores. Assuming you mean airborn spores you may well be correct about the filamentous algae in our tanks, but I'm not a phycologist so I won't say much there.
In terms of "land plants" (bryophytes and vascular plants), every single plant species today makes spores (except for those that are 100% asexual), although I wouldn't fault anyone for saying flowering plants and gymnosperms don't (its highly cryptic). Ferns however make tons of spores under their leaves that float off in the wind to colonize new habitat and allow for sexual reproduction. Seeds are spore-like in being able to disseminate great distances and often survive conditions that would kill the parent plant (e.g. cold and drought).
Some plants can dry out just fine. Spanish moss (a common bromeliad in the SE US) and resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides, common throughout the eastern US and probably up into Canada) can dry to a crisp and come the next rain those dried out leaves will spring back to life. I'm pretty certain some green algae can do the same (probably not the one in question though)
Anyway, this isn't meant to criticize you at all. Just to point out that life is incredibly diverse and virtually no blanket rule can ever used to describe a major lineage of organisms without exceptions happily thumbing their noses at it.
I can't believe I had so much to say about three short sentences! But I'm a botanist, so it is easy for me to ramble on about plants!
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 13:20:59 -0500 (EST)
From: "Richard J. Sexton"
Subject: Re: [APD] RE: Algae spores
To: aquatic plants digest ,
At 10:04 AM 12/14/2004 -0500, Bill D wrote:
>Given the fact that filament algae do not spread via air-borne spores, is it
>possible that tiny desiccated pieces could be spread by the wind and start
>to grow when they encounter a suitable habitat?
If it dries out it's dead. It's a plant.
Bacteria form spores: the rad alga and cyanobacteria (blue green alga).
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