Colonial Organisms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Colonial Organisms


aquatic organisms, characterized by asexual (vegetative) reproduction, that remain united with the daughter and subsequent generations and form a more or less complex union, or colony. Among colonial plants are various unicellular algae, including blue-green, green, golden-brown, yellow-green, diatomaceous, dinoflagellate, and euglenoid. Depending on the method of formation (reproduction by zoospores or autospores), the colonies are either zoosporic or autosporic.

Colonial animals predominantly include marine invertebrates and lower chordates. Many unicellular animals, or protozoans, are colonial organisms, such as several flagellates, radiolarians, and infusorians. Other colonial invertebrates include many sponges and the majority of coelenterates (including siphonophores). Bryozoans, entoprocts, Rhabdopleura (order Pterobranchia), almost all hydrozoans, many coral polyps and many polypous generations of various scyphozoans are colonial organisms. Synascidiaepyrosomata, salps, and Doliolidae are examples of colonial lower chordates. The extinct graptolites were colonial animals.

Some colonial animals are sessile, such as bryozoans, hydrozoans, coral polyps, and synascidians. These colonies are usually permanently attached to the substrate and have a more or less developed skeleton. Colonial Radiolaria, Siphonophora, Pyrosomata, Doliolidae, and Salpidae, which live in the depths of the sea, are usually semitransparent and lack skeletons.

Many colonial organisms are metagenetic: there is alternation of asexual and sexual generations. Colonial organisms were the intermediate link in the development of multicellular animals from unicellular animals.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The reef fabric basically consists of boundstones with variable proportion of colonial organisms (up to 90% of the components), microbial crusts and associated encrusting organisms (10-80%), and cavities filled by internal sediment (Fig.
433-444 in Biology and Systematica of Colonial Organisms, G.
Because sessile, colonial organisms cannot avoid the path of mobile fishing gear nor can they quickly immigrate into recently disturbed areas, they may be more adversely affected by bottom fishing than motile species.
Metazoan organisms are easy to individuate on this basis, but a variety of biological entities challenge the concrete notion of individuality; for example, some fungi and colonial organisms which lack obvious boundaries.
They rarely occur among such entities as intelligent egg-layers, clones, computers, colonial organisms, hive-minds, slime-molds, or sentient networks, etc.
He described "the gruesome lesson of parasitism and the political satire of colonial organisms" (168); "the entire rejection by Nature of the plans of life ...
Biology and systematics of colonial organisms. Academic Press, London, England.
Colony specificity (allogeneic recognition between colonies) has been reported in many colonial organisms, such as sponges, hydrozoans, corals, bryozoans, and ascidians.
211-242 in Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms, G.
Within these extremes, many colonial organisms display varying degrees of morphological plasticity in response to environmental conditions, which probably enables them to adapt to heterogenous envi ronments (e.g., de Kroon and Hutchings, 1995; Umeki, 1995; Stuefer, 1996; Kleijn and Van Groenendael, 1999; Muko et al., 2000; Equiza et al., 2001).
This is an appropriate use, since hydractiniid hydroids are colonial organisms commonly used in laboratory manipulations.

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