Five Kingdom classification by R.H.Whittaker

Kingdom Monera :-
Bacteria are the sole members of the Kingdom Monera. They are the most abundant micro-organisms. Bacteria occur almost everywhere . Hundreds of bacteria are present in a handful of soil. They also live in extreme habitats such as hot springs , deserts, snow and deep oceans where very few others life forms can survive. Many of them live in or on other organisms as parasites.
These bacteria are spherical since they live in some of the harsh habitats such as extreme salty areas (halophiles) , hot springs (thermoacidophiles) and marshy areas (methanogens) . Methanogens are present in the gut of several ruminant animals such as cows and buffaloes.
These are also called as true bacteria. They are characterized by the presence of a rigid cell wall, and in motile forms, a flagellum is also present.
The cyanobacteria (also referred to as blue –green algae) have chlorophyll a similar to green plants and are photosynthetic autotrophs.
Kingdom Protista:
All single –celled eukaryotes are placed under Protista. Members of Protista are primarily aquatic. Being eukaryotes, the protistan cell body contains a well defined nucleus and other membrane –bound organelles.
This group includes diatoms and golden algae( desmids). They are found in fresh water as well as in marine environments. They float passively in water currents ( plankton) . Most of them are photosynthetic. In diatoms the cell walls form two thin overlapping shells, which fit together. The walls are embedded with silica. Diatoms have left behind large amount of cell wall deposits in their habitat. This accumulation over billion of years is referred to as ‘diatomaceous earth’.
These organisms are mostly marine and photosynthetic . They appear yellow , green , brown , blue or red depending on the main pigments present in their cells. The cell wall has stiff cellulose plates on the outer surface. Most of them have two flagella; one lies longitudinally and the other transversely in a furrow between the wall plates. Red Dinoflagellates e.g. (Gonyaulax) undergo such rapid multiplication that they make the sea appear red (red tides)
Majority of them are fresh water organisms, found in stagnant water. Instead of a cell wall, they have a protein rich layer called pellicle which makes their body flexible. They have two flagella, a short and a long one. e.g. Euglena
Slime Moulds:
Slime moulds are saprophytic protists.The body moves along decaying twigs and leaves engulfing organic material. Under suitable conditions, they form an aggregation called plasmodium which may grow and spread over several feet.
Kingdom Fungi:
The fungi constitute a unique kingdom of heterotrophic organisms. Except Yeasts which are unicellular , all other fungi are filamentous. Their bodies consist of long, slender thread like structures called hyphae. The network of hyphae is known as mycelium. Some hyphae are continuous tubes filled with multinucleated cytoplasm –these are called coenocytic hyphae. The cell walls of fungi are composed of chitin and polysaccharides.
Reproduction in fungi can take place by vegetative means – fragmentation , fission and budding. Asexual reproduction is by pores called conidia or sporangiospores or zoospores . Sexual reproduction is by oospores, ascospores, and basidiospores. The various spores are produced in different structures called fruiting bodies.

five-kingdom-classificationKingdom Plantae:
It includes all eukaryotic chlorophyll –containing organisms commonly called as plants. A few members are partially heterotrophic such as the insectivorous plants or parasites. Bladderwort and Venus fly trap are insectivorous plants and Cuscuta is a parasite.
The plant cells have an eukaryotic structure with prominent chloroplasts and cell wall mainly made up of cellulose. Plantae includes algae, bryophytes , pteridophytes , gymnosperms and angiosperms. Life cycle of plants has two distinct phases – the diploid sporophytic and the haploid gametophytic – that alternate with each other.
Kingdom Animalia:
This kingdom is characterized by heterotrophic eukaryotic organisms that are multicellular and their cells lack cell walls. They directly or indirectly depend on plants for food. They digest their food in an internal cavity and store food reserves as glycogen or fat.

Author:- Dr. Anupama Goyal
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