Survey of representatives of the major  Kingdoms
General Biology BI 04 Summer School Lecture Notes


Viruses - non-living


Made up of fragments of a genome, strands of nucleic acid encased in protein coats

Possess only one form of nucleic acid, either DNA or RNA depending on the virus type

Cannot grow or replicate without a host

Replicate only utilizing host cell`s machinery


Important due to disease producing potential

Could never have existed independently as preexisting organisms

Viruses are often highly host-specific, reproduce only within a certain host

Mode of action

Transmit nucleic acid component from one host cell to another

Nucleic acid takes over host cell and produces more viruses

Virulent viruses cause host cell to lyse and release new virus particles

Temperate viruses become established in genome of host cell

5 Kingdom System

Monera (Prokaryotes, give rise to the Eukaryotes, probably through endosymbiosis)

Protista (Eukaryotes, give rise to the 3 higher Kingdoms)



Fungal-like Protistans

Fungi (Eukaryotes)

Plantae (Eukaryotes)

Animalia (Eukaryotes)

3 Domain System: Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya

Prokaryotes have been split into 2 Domains



Eukaryotes are together in a single Domain


Number of kingdoms has not been resolved

Bacteria present a problem with their diversity

Protista present a problem with their diversity


many species found in extreme environments

thermoacidophiles - hot springs

halophiles - salt lakes, deep sea hydrothermal vents, involved in decomposition

methanogens - swamps, marshes (die in the presence of oxygen), decomposers

found in the gut of some animals, used to make methane from garbage


Characteristics of most species

cell wall made up of peptioglycan (sugar and proteins), gram + or -

flagella in some species

no membrane-bound organelles

genome - sinlge strand of DNA and maybe circular DNA (plasmid)

reproduction by binary fission

some species produce endospores to survive in harsh environments

small size

Metabolism and Ecology - aerobic and anaerobic


photosynthetic - derive energy from photosynthesis

chemosynthetic - derive energy from oxidation of inorganic compounds (hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, etc...)


saprobes - decomposers


TB, STD's (Gonorrhea, Syphillis, Chlamydia) , Lyme Disease, tooth decay and halitosis

nitrogen metabolism - processing of nitrogen

nitrogen fixation - converts nitrogen gas directly from nitrogen in the atmosphere into ammonium that can be used by plants or by the bacteria themselves (cyanobacteria with heterocyst)

Oxygen and prokaryotic metabolism

obligate aerobes - must have oxygen for cellular respiration

facultative anaerobes - will use oxygen in respiration when it is available but can also use fermentation to produce energy for their cells

obligate anaerobe - only use fermentation, oxygen is poisonous

Major forms




Gram + bacteria - cell wall is composed almost entirely of peptidoglycan

Gram - bacteria - cell wall is composed of an outer membrance with peptidoglycan

5 Major Groups of Bacteria

Proteobacteria (gram - bacteria)

broad diversity of species and ecologies

many species are symbiotic (parasites or mutualists)

some photoautotrophs and chemoautotrophs


parasites (use ATP from host cell)


some free-living and some parasitic forms (Lyme Disease)

Gram + bacteria (includes some gram - bacteria)

broad diversity of species and ecologies

fungus-like bacteria

parasites - tuberculosis and leprosy

free-living in soil - decomposers and some species used to make antibiotics

spore-forming bacteria - causes botulism, other diseases (staph and strep throat infections)

mycoplasmas - only bacteria that lack cell wall

free-living in soil

pathogens - walking pneumonia

Cyanobacteria - blue-green algae

photosynthetic autotrophs

Putting prokaryotes to work

sewage treatment

bacteria used to clean up oil spills

make yogurt, acetic acid, vinegar

used in recombinant DNA experiments

Protista (first Eukaryotes)

Morphological Characteristics - general

nucleus with nuclear membrane

many chromosomes

some photosynthetic forms, heterotrophic forms (ingestion and exeternal absorption), aerobic metabolism,

mostly unicellular, some multicellular forms (see Algae)

larger size than Prokaryotes

capable of sexual reproduction

may be an artifical grouping because the diversity of species, under further study


Heterotrophs with aerobic metabolism

Photoautrophs - photosynthesis

Mixotrophs - combine photosynthesis with heterotrophic nutrition







damp terrestrial environments

mutualists and parasites live in animal or plant host's tissues

Major types of protists

Protozoans: animal-like protistans

Algae: plant-like protistans

Cellular slime molds: fungal-like protistans

Evolutionary origin

infolding of the cell membranes


Major Groups

Diplomonadida - lack mitochondria

multiple flagella, two nuclei, simple cytoskeleton

example - Giardia (beaver fever)

Parabasalids - lack mitochondria

flagella and undulating membrane

example - trichomonads, infects human vaginal lining if the normal pH is disturbed


flagella, photosynthetic and heterotrophic

example - Euglenoids

example - Trypanosoma responsible for African sleeping sickness


have small, membrane-bound cavities under the cell surface - alveoli

Dinoflagellata - Dinoflagellates

photosynthetic pigments - xanthochlorophyll a and c along with carotenoids

mostly marine, symbionts in animals (corals)

blooms responsible for red tides

bioluminescent forms

Apicomplexans - parasites

Plasmodium causes malaria, infects liver and red blood cells (lyses rbcs and releases toxins)

Ciliophora - Ciliates

unicellular with cilia covering entire cell, micro- and macronuclei

sexual reproduction involves conjugation, micronucleus undergoes meiosis, cells exchange haploid micronuclei which fuse to form a diploid micronucleus


Oomycota -the Water Molds and Mildews

named after large eggs that forms after fertilization

Niche - parasites (cause of potato blight and famine in Ireland) and some saprophytic forms

Bacillariophyta - Diatoms

Chlorophylls a and b, carotenoids, contain silica based shells, used to make filters (diatomaceous earth)

fresh and salt water

Chrysophyta - golden algae

flagella, carotenoids and xanthophyll

primarily freshwater

Phaeophyta - Brown Algae

chlorophyll a and c chloroplasts

marine, brown color, air bladder in many species


large kelps

Fucus - example 1 from Maine (floating at high tide)

Fucus - example 2 from Maine (sample on beach)

Rhodophyta - Red Algae

chlorophyll a and phycobilins, capable of living at greater depths and capturing light for photosynthesis

marine - warm waters

Chlorophyta - Green Algae

ancestor of higher plants, contain chlorophyll a and b

marine, freshwater and terrestrial forms, includes algae in lichens

Pseudopod - using Protists

Rhizopoda - amoebae

move using pseudopods, feed via phagocytosis

free-living and parasitic forms (amoebic dysentery)

Foraminifera - forams

covered by porous shells = tests, podia are cyptoplasmic extensions through pores used for swimming and gathering food

heterotrophic marine forms

Actinopoda - Radiolaria

possess pseudopods - ray feet


Mycetozoa - slime molds

Dictyostelida - the Cellular Slime Molds

act like amoebae, can fuse together

Niche - fresh water, damp soil, rotting vegetation

Myxogastrida - the Plasmodial Slime Molds

act like a large amoeba composed of many cells that lack membranes

Niche - eat bacteria and organic matter, found in wet forest floors

Evolution of multicellularity

Volvocine line of evolution

unicellular - loose aggregations - colonies - colonies with division of labor and differentiation of cells - true multicellular organisms



Multicellular eukaryotes, cellulose in cell wall, starch storage, chloroplasts contain chlorophyll a, b, carotenoids and others

cuticle to protect against microbes and prevent dessication

vascular tissue in the higher groups (internal transport)

Life cycle - alternation of generations (gametophyte and sporophyte)

gametophyte - 1n (haploid), dominant generation in lower plants, produces haploid gametes which fuse to form the sporophyte

sporophyte - 2n (diploid), dominant generation in higher plants, undergoes meiosis to form spores or gametes

sporangium - spore producing organ, site of meiosis

Important trends in plant evolution and colonization of land


flagellated sperm - wind borne pollen

move from spores to seeds to fleshy coverings on seeds

sporophyte becomes dominant phase of the life cylce in higher plants

Vascular tissue

evolution of xylem and phloem for conducting materials through the plant

Morphological advances

evolution of roots in higher plants

development of true leaves

Major groups

Charophycea - oldest and most primitive group of higher plants

algal group closely related to the green algae

Bryophytes and their allies

Major groups

liverworts and mosses

Tracheolphyta (vascular plants)

Major groups

seedless palnts

ferns and their allies

seed plants

gymnosperms, angiosperms

Bryophytes (hornworts, liverworts and mosses)

Major Phyletic Groups

Bryophyta - mosses

Hepatpphyta - liverworts

Anthocerophyta - hornworts


moist habitats of temperate, tropical forests and tundra, require water for sexual reproduction and flagellated sperm

Life Cycle


male gametophyte, possesses antheridia, produce sperm

female gametophyte, possesses archegonia, produce eggs

sporophyte grows off the top of the female gametophyte, nutritionally dependent on the gametophyte, undergoes meiosis to produce spores that give rise to new male or female gametophytes

Liverworts possess leafy thallus with cupules, cupules contain 1n gemmae that can reproduce asexually

Mosses possess leaves and stems and conducting tissues similar to higher plants, may be related to ancestor of higher plants

Vascular Plants - Tracheophyta


occupy all terrestrial environments

Morphological characteristics

vascular tissue - xylem and phloem, true leaves

sporophyte - dominant stage in life history

Major groups

Pteridophytes: non-seed plants: four living and three extinct phyla

Pterophyta - ferns, whisk ferns, horsetails

Lycophyta - club mosses

responsible for the coal forests during the Carboniferous period (290 - 360 mya) that formed our fossil fuels

Seed Plants

Gymnosperms - conifers and their allies

Angiosperms - flowering plants

Monocots - vascular (xylem and phloem) bundles scattered throughout the stem, one cotyledon or seed leaf

Dicots - vascular (xylem and phloem) bundles restricted to the periphery of the stem, two cotyledons or seed leaves

Pterophyta - ferns

vascular tissue, roots, stems, rhizomes, fronds and leaves

life cycle

flagellated sperm, require water and moist environment

small gametophyte - prothalium contains archegonia and antheridia

sorus on the underside of the leaf - contains sporangium, meiosis produces 1N spores, released and grow into new prothalia

Seed Plants

Evolutionary advances

Reproductive structures

Male - microsporangium produces pollen

Female - megasporangium contains ovule = egg

Seed - protective, resistant outer coat contains integuments, contains embryo and food

Reproduction - wind and animal pollination, enables plants to perform long-distance fertilization

Dispersal - wind and animal

Gymnosperms - conifers and their allies

distributed throughout the world except tundra

naked seed - no fruit

gametophytes are very small, develop within the sporophyte

Major groups: conifers, cycads, ginkgoes and gnetophytes


life cycle

needle leaves, stay on the plant year round

male(pollen cone) and female (ovulate cone) cones for reproduction

wind-borne pollen and pollination

egg - megaspore produced in megasprophyll

sperm/pollen - microspore produced in microsporophyll


Pacific Yew used to produce taxol for treatment of ovarian cancer

Pine - building materials

Juniper berry extract for gin flavoring

Douglas Fir used for building, railroad ties, plywood


Evolutionary Advances

Refinement of xylem - tracheids for support and vessel elements that are highly specialized for water transport



distributed throughout the world

Major groups

Monocots - one seed leaf

Dicots - two seed leaves

life cycle

reproductive structures - flowers

male - stamen composed of anther and filament

female - pistil composed of stigma, style, ovary

sepals - support base of the flower

petals - surround the flower

pollen - windborne and carried by pollinators drawn to flower by nectar and color

double process of fertilization: first sperm fertilizes egg, second sperm fertilizes polar nuclei, develops into endosperm, serves nutritive function, food suppy for developing embryo

ovary develops into fruit

Leaves with veins

upper epidermis, palisade layer, spongy mesophyll (important site of gas exchange inside the leaf), lower epidermis, stomata (stoma and guard cells, control gas exchange with the atmosphere)

Types of fruits

pomme - apple

dry - dandelion

leguminous - peanut and peas

fleshy - cherry, tomato


Agriculture - vegetables and fruits

Medicine - drugs

Timber and building materials, furniture



hyphae and mycelium, heterotropic - extracellular digestion using exoenzymes and absorption

hyphae made up of cells separated by septae (porous and allow movement of cyptoplasm and nuclei), some species are coenocytic (lack septae, composed of one large cyptoplasm)

haustoria - specialized hyphae of parasitic species that penetrate tissue of the host species

cell wall composed of polysaccharide and chitin

reproductive spores - produced by meiosis or mitosis with specialized dispersal mechanisms

Ecological Roles



Mutualistic symbionts

Major groups (defined by modes of reproduction)

Chitridiomycota - most primitive group

mainly aquatic, non-parasitic forms (saprobes) and parastic forms, parasites may be responsible for global decline in amphibians

most primitive group, only Fungi with flagella

Zygomycota -mostly terrestrial, found close to plants, live in soil on decaying plant matter, other - bread molds

hyphae - asexual with sporangium

hyphae - sexual, fuse together and forms haploid zygospore around zygote, undergoes meiosis and releases haploid spores


Mutualistic symbionts mycorrhizae - mutualistic forms with plants (exchange minerals)

most species live in the soil, saprobes of decaying plant vegetation

Ascomycota - freshwater and terrestrial forms, some yeast and their allies

sexual reproduction - reproductive sac - haploid ascus surrounds diploid zygote

asxual reproduction - using conidiospores, produced by specialized hyphae = conidiophores

many asci together form large cup-like ascocarp

mycorrhizae - mutualistic forms with plants (exchange minerals)


marine, freshwater, terrestrial forms

mutualistic symbionts with algae to form lichens and mycorrhizae

Basidiomycota - club fungi

reproductive structure - basidiocarp with gills, gills lined with basidia

sexual reproduction occurs within basidia that undergoes meiosis make basidiospores


decomposers/saprobes involved in decaying wood and other forest vegetation

Deuteromycetes or Fungi imperfecti - unusual group

asexual reproduction

many species are human and plant parasites

penicillium also used to produce penicillin, also includes some yeast species

Interesting Associations with other species

Lichens - some species form mutualistic relationship with algae to form lichens

Mycorrhizae - form associations with plant roots (endo and ecto), transfer nutrients in soil to plants in exchange for organic molecules

Other benefits - prevents uptake of toxic metals, protect against acid rain, resist cold and drought, increase crop yield




multicellular, heterotrophs, nervous tissue, glycogen is form of starch storage

major groups differ in their embryonic development

Major Groups - based on traditional model (morphology and development)

Parazoa - no true tissues


Eumetazoa - true tissues,

Germ Layer Tissues/System
ectoderm forms coverings of body and nervous system
endoderm digestive organs and intestines
mesoderm skeleton and muscles

Radiata - radially symmetric organisms


Bilateria - bilaterally symmetric organisms






Schizocoelomates - Protostomes




Enterocoelomates - Deuterostomates



Major Groups - based on biochemical systematics

Parazoa - no true tissues


Eumetazoa - true tissues

Germ Layer Tissues/System
ectoderm forms coverings of body and nervous system
endoderm digestive organs and intestines
mesoderm skeleton and muscles

Radiata - radially symmetric organisms


Bilateria - bilaterally symmetric organisms

Protostomes - Lophotrochozoa




Protostomes - Ecdysozoa







Colonization of land (primitive groups - marine, advanced groups - terrestrial)

Unsegmented - segmented

Simple tube - complex tube with accessory glands

cold-blooded - warm-blooded


Porifera - sponges


marine and freshwater


Characteristics - morphology

spicules - supporting structures

single opening to body cavity (spongocoel)- osculum

pores along body wall where water and food enters

Choanocytes - flagellated collar cells move water through body

Amoebocytes - transport nutrients

mesoglea - nerve net (loose network of individual nerve cells)

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Porifera




contain cnidocytes - stinging cells

most species have sedentary polyp stage (asexual) and mobile medusa stage (sexual)

life cycle

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Cnidaria


mostly marine, some freshwater forms

Major groups

Hydrozoa - hydras

polyp stage dominant over medusa

Scyphozoa - jellyfish

medusa stage dominant over polyp

Anthozoa - corals, sea anemones

polyp stage only

Bilateria - Protostomes - Lophotrochozoa

Platyhelminthes - flatworms, acoelomates

Turbellaria - Planaria, free-living forms, mostly marine and carnivorous

two eye-spots, mouth and pharynx, gastrovascular cavity, nerve net with ganglia, flame cells for maintaining salt and water balance

Trematoda - liver and blood flukes - parasitic

Cestoda - tapeworms - parasitic

scolex - head, proglottids with sexual organs, adult tapeworm buries scolex into wall of the intestine and is bathed in food

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Platyhelminthes

Schizocoelomates - coelom forms from mesoderm at the beginning of gut formation, blastopore becomes mouth


open circulatory system, foot for movement, simple digestive tract

Polyplacophora - chitons

Gastropoda - snails

Bivalvia - clams and their relatives

Cephalopoda - squid, octupus, nautilus

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Mollusca


segemented body composed of somites, closed circulatory system, complex digestive tract (pharynx, stomach, gizzard, intestine), nephridia for nitrogen excretion

Oligochaeta - earthworms

Polychaeta - marine worms with parapodia (movement)

Hirudinea - leeches, parasitic

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Annelida

Bilateria - Protostomes - Ecdysozoa

Arthropods - horshoe crabs, crustaceans, spider, ticks, mites, lice and insects and their allies

exoskeleton of chitin with cuticle, jointed legs, metamorphsis of egg - larvae - adult, may prevent intraspecific competition for food

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Arthropods

Nematoda - roundworms, psuedocoelomates - coelom partially lined with mesoderms

free-living and parasitic forms, terrestrial, freshwater and marine forms

sexual dimorphism, simple body plan, example used a common animal model: C. elegans

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Nematoda

Deuterostomes - Enterocoelomates - coelom forms from outpocketing of gut, blastopore becomes anus

Echinodermata - marine forms: starfish, sea stars, brittle fans, sea urchins

water vascular system, tube feet (locomotion, feeding and gas exchange)

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Echinodermata


3 characteristics of chordates

notochord - long dorsal cord between digestive tract and nerve cord

nerve cord - develops into central nervous system

pharyngeal gill slits

Invertebrate Chordata

Urochordates = Tunicates (filter-feeders)

Cephalochordates = Lancelets (Amphioxus) - fish-like marine organisms

See Dr. Hieber's Links to more information on the Hemichordata, Urochordata and their allies

Vertebrate Chrodata - development of the endoskeleton

vertebral column replaces the notochord, skull (cranium) enclosing the brain, dorsal nerve cord enclosed in a groove in vertebral column

Summary Table of the Major Groups in Vertebrate Evolution



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Trademark and Disclaimers

Parts of this summary were adapted from Raven, P., G. Johnson. 1997. Biology (4th ed.). New York, McGraw-Hill Compannies.




Lower Plants

Higher Plants


Non-coelomate Animals

Mollusca and Annelida

Arthropoda and Echinodermata



Copyright 2001 Jay Pitocchelli. All rights reserved. The contents of this page are the intellectual property of Dr. Jay Pitocchelli for distribution to students enrolled in General Biology BI 04 at Saint Anselm College. These pages may not be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, or published in any electronic or machine-readable form in whole or in part without prior written approval of Jay Pitocchelli. Students enrolled in General Biology BI 04 at Saint Anselm College have permission to print this material for their lecture notes.