Chlamydomonas happens to be a species of green algae of which there are currently more than 325 species out of which nearly all are unicellular flagellates. It should be pointed out that we own our oxygen-rich atmosphere to the presence of Chlamydomonas and others like it, which helped to generate oxygen as part of their photosynthesis process. It is suspected that green algae with other forms of bacterial cellular structures like stromatolites first appeared around 3.5 billion years ago and played a key role in both evolution of life as well as the evolution of our early atmosphere. Today, Chlamydomonas happens to continue to play an important role and as such, it is time that we took a closer look at the same.
The life cycle of Chlamydomonas consists of three types, haplontic, diplontic and diplohaplontic.
- Asexual reproduction: Chlamydomonas is often found in fresh water, around freshwater and at times, around brackish water. It is also one of the few species that practices asexual reproduction seamlessly without a hitch. Green algae often reproduce rapidly and that’s why you may observe one, growing twice its size within a short time. In this form of reproduction, the plant cell especially the protoplasm of the plant cell undergoes cell division into little protoplasts. It soon develops the same structures as with the parent cell, namely flagella, eyespot and much more. The cell division takes place in an extremely short time and the daughter cell resembles the parent cell in almost every aspect.
- Sexual reproduction: Depending on the circumstances and immediate environment, Chlamydomonas can develop sexual organs and this soon leads to the eventual development of zygote. Before reproduction, the zygote undergoes a period of rest and result in the formation of zoospores which eventually leads to the formation of another adult plant.
- Isogamy: Here is a process by which the games which are similar in size fuse together. While the gametes may look similar to each other, they are in fact morphologically different from each other.
- Anisogamy: Here the union takes place between gametes in different sizes and this often results in reproduction.
This is the life cycle of Chlamydomonas or green algae as it is commonly known. It should be pointed out that green algae are often used today in various commercial projects. Moreover, given the fact that there are various types of green algae from those that are primarily terrestrial as in they grow on moist soil, moist surfaces to those that grow in freshwater as well as those that grow on animals, within plants and even on ice makes on fact patently clear – that Chlamydomonas as a whole is a tenacious plant. It has to be, for it has managed to survive all the extinction level evens that had changed the course of this planet’s history and Chlamydomonas has managed to outmaneuver each one of them. While at the outset, they may look simple but in reality, they are anything but that.
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