Cyanobacteria is a widely distributed group of unicellular and multicellular photosynthetic bacteria that possess chlorophyll a (Prochlorales additionally possess chlorophyll b) and perform oxygenic photosynthesis.

Keywords: chromatic adaptation; cyanophyceae; oxychlorobacteria; picoplankton; phylogeny; stromatolites; chloroplast evolution

Figure 1.

Morphological diversity in cyanobacteria. Unicellular: (a) single‐celled Cyanothece PCC 7418, (b) forming regular colonies Merismopedia punctata and (c) irregular colonies of Gloeothece PCC 6909. Filamentous, without heterocysts: (d) Spirulina sp., (e) Arthrospira sp., (f) Oscillatoria sp. and (g) Hydrocoleum cantharidosmum. Filamentous with heterocysts: (h) Aphanizomenon flos‐aquae, (i) Scytonema sp. and (j) Stigonema sp., filamentous cyanobacterium with heterocysts and branched trichomes.

Figure 2.

Schematic vertical cross‐section of a typical microbial mat system.

Figure 3.

Laminated cross‐section of microbial mats from Norderney Island (North Sea), Germany.

Figure 4.

Different pigmentation of cyanobacteria due to their various ratios of phycocyanine and phycoerythrine as well as divergent carotenoids.

Figure 5.

Size comparison of the smallest cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus and typical microbial mat inhabitant Oscillatoria limosa.

Figure 6.

(SEM) micrograph of a microbial mat community. Two different species of Spirulina and nonsheeted forms of the Phormidium sp. covered by EPS are visible.



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Further Reading

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Palinska, Katarzyna A(Jul 2008) Cyanobacteria. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000454.pub2]