Chicago gardeners will enjoy this new series on friendly biological facts. They know our Earth is literally teeming with life because they nurture and produce plant life in their gardens. A germinating seed and a sturdy seedling thrill Chicago gardeners, and they love reviewing biology.
Most biologists divide living organisms into five kingdoms based on special characteristics. The five kingdoms are bacteria, protista including chromista, fungi, plants and animals. Each kingdom has species that exhibit those characteristics. It contains species that are either beneficial or harmful to humans. Scientists constantly search for ways living organisms can assist us in establishing a healthier, safer and improved planet.
The bacteria kingdom (monera) is composed of the simplest living organisms. Bacteria are prokaryotes, meaning they have only one cell that doesn’t contain a nucleus or a nuclear wall. The 4,000 species in this kingdom have an irregular shaped region or nucleoid that holds all or most of the genetic material for the cell. They move in water and sometimes form a group of cells. They reproduce by cell division. They can be decomposers, parasites, producers and consumers. Some examples of this kingdom’s species are bacteria and blue-green algae. They can cause illness in humans, but they are also used in pest control, waste processing, fermenting foods and cleaning oil spills.
Protista and chromista kingdom members are the ancestors of plants. They have either one or many cells, each having a nucleus (eukaryotes). They move in water with flagella, a tail-like structure, and they absorb water. This kingdom contains 150,000 species. They are producers and consumers. Some are pathogens, and others are used in organic pest control. Some examples of this kingdom are algae, plankton, lime molds, water molds and diatoms.
To be continued…
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