Oomycota water moulds

Water moulds resemble true fungi in their gross structure, comprising a mass of branched hyphae. At the cellular and molecular level however, they bear very little resemblance, and are not at all closely related.

The Oomycota derive their name from the single large egg cell that is fertilised to produce a diploid zygote as part of the sexual reproduction cycle.

Many water moulds play an important role in the decomposition of dead plants and animals in freshwater ecosystems, while others are parasitic on the gills of fish. Terrestrial members of the Oomycota include a number of important plant pathogens, such as rusts and mildews, which can have a devastating effect on crops such as tobacco and potatoes.

Haploid spores

Meiosis

Fruiting body development

Fruiting body development

Plasmodium

Plasmodium

Amoeba (n)

Amoeba (n)

Multinucleate amoeba

May briefly assume flagellate form

Zygote (2n)

Mitosis without cell division

Multinucleate amoeba

Figure 9.16 The plasmodial slime moulds. Acellular slime moulds such as Physarum produce amorphous coenocytic plasmodia which move by amoeboid movement and phago-cytically engulf particles of food. Fruiting bodies bearing sporangia release haploid spores, which germinate to form new amoebas

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