154,256 species and infraspecific names are in the database, 21,059 images, 59,701 bibliographic items, 415,636 distributional records.

Scenedesmus Meyen, 1829

Empire Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Viridiplantae
Infrakingdom Chlorophyta infrakingdom
Phylum Chlorophyta
Subphylum Chlorophytina
Class Chlorophyceae
Order Sphaeropleales
Family Scenedesmaceae
Subfamily Scenedesmoidea

Lectotype species: Scenedesmus obtusus Meyen

Original publication:Meyen, F.J.F. (1829). Beobachtungen über einige niedere Algenformen. Nova Acta Physico-Medica Academiae Caesareae Leopoldino-Carolinae Naturae 14: 768-778, pl. XLIII [43].
 Download PDF

Type designated in Nägeli, C. (1849). Gattungen einzelliger Algen, physiologisch und systematisch bearbeitet. Neue Denkschriften der Allg. Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für die Gesammten Naturwissenschaften 10(7): i-viii, 1-139, pls I-VIII.
 Download PDF

Taxonomic status: currently recognized as a distinct genus.

Most recent taxonomic treatment adopted: Tsarenko, P.M. (2011). Sphaeropleales. In: Algae of Ukraine: diversity, nomenclature, taxonomy, ecology and geography. Volume 3: Chlorophyta. (Tsarenko, P.M., Wasser, S.P. & Nevo, E. Eds), pp. 280-355. Ruggell: A.R.A. Gantner Verlag K.-G..

Nomenclatural notes
Scenedesmus is not explained in the original description but seem to be from the Greek skene, a tent [Latin scena, from which the English scene and thus scenery), meaning a tent, stage, decorative setting or place] and desmos, a bond. Bold & Wynne (1978: 138) give the origin as "L. scena, stage boards Gr. desmos, bond). However, Christensen (1980: 413) points out that "...naming [in Meyen] has obviously been undertaken rather carelessely." and that the Greek words are "... printed with the wrong acccents, their roots are incorrectly joined....". - (15 Jan 2016) - M.D. Guiry

Description: Thalli single celled or colonial, forming 2- to 32-celled, usually 4- or 8-celled coenobia; surrounding mucilaginous matrix present or absent. Cells arranged linearly, alternating or in 2-3 rows, touching with the lateral walls or in subpolar region only. Cells 3-78 x 2-10 µm, nearly spherical to ellipsoidal, elongate or fusiform to elongate fusiform; cell poles capitate, obtuse, acute or long tapering. Cell wall with hemicellulosic and sporopolleninic layer, usually smooth in subgenus Acutodesmus and Scenedesmus, with submicroscopical structures in subgenus Desmodesmus, partly light microscopically visible as ribs, granulations or dents. Cells spineless or in subgenus Desmodesmus partly with sporopolleninic spines. Excretion of proteinaceous bristles. Cells uninucleate; chloroplast single and parietal with single pyrenoid. Asexual reproduction by autospores; 2-32 per sporangium, usually organized in one coenobium or disintegrated into singe cells; spore release by rupture of parental cell wall. Sexual reproduction reported for S. obliquus in subgenus Acutodesmus, but apparently extremely rare. Gametes biflagellate and isogamous; if syngamy does not occur gametes disintegrate. Chromosome numbers rarely reported, in S. quadricauda n = 11 or 13.

Information contributed by: E. Hegewald & D. Garbary; modified slightly by M.D. Guiry. The most recent alteration to this page was made on 2 Feb 2016 by M.D. Guiry.

Comments: The original description was "Alga taeniaeformis, sine thallo proprio, e cellulis ellipticis aequalibus, lateraliter in seriem planam aggregatiS formata. Sporulae massa sporacea gntmosa viridis coloris obvolutae in cellulis (sporangiis) regulariter dispositae."
Scenedesmus planktonic mainly in eutrophic freshwater ponds and lakes, rarely in brackish water; reported world-wide in all climates. Physiology and biochemistry relatively uniform, with all 28 investigated strains having hydrogenase and producing secondary carotenoids in nitrogen deficient conditions; species differ in ability to hydrolyze starch, growth under acidic conditions and guanine-cytosine content of DNA varies between 50-69% (85 investigated strains). Outer cell wall and nearly all cell wall ornamentation sporopolleninic, inner cell wall hemicellulosic. Species tolerate or prefer eutrophic water with slight acidity but only low salinity. Temperature optima at 28-30%C, but with some strains or taxa at 36%C or above. Some species of Scenedesmus highly polymorphic in culture with variation induced by various culture conditions. Culture variants may be similar to "Dactylococcus" or Lagerheimia spp. Polymorphism has been studied for about 100 years but remains incompletely understood. Variability includes cell number per coenobium/single cells, cell arrangement, cell size and especially expression of ornamentation (spines, ribs, granulation). Some species change ultrastructural features of cell walls from generation to generation based on nutrition. Genus with well defined subgeneric or infrageneric classification with many hundreds of described varieties and forma. Species distinguished mostly on differences in cell size and shape, coenobial morphology and patterns of cell wall ornamentation. Some authors include Tetradesmus as a synonym. Scenedesmus obliquus and sporadically S. obtusus are produced in mass culture and used as food because of their protein and mineral content, or used for other purposes in biochemical industry.

Numbers of names and species: There are 305 species names in the database at present, as well as 449 infraspecific names. Of the species names, 135 have been flagged as accepted taxonomically on the basis of the listed literature under the species name. In some instances, opinions on taxonomic validity differ from author to author and users are encouraged to form their own opinion. AlgaeBase is a work in progress and should not be regarded as a definitive source only as a guide to the literature..

Names: ('C' indicates a name that is accepted taxonomically; 'S' a homotypic or heterotypic synonym; 'U' indicates a name of uncertain taxonomic status, but which has been subjected to some verification nomenclaturally; 'P' indicates a preliminary AlgaeBase entry that has not been subjected to any kind of verification. For more information on a species click on it to activate a link to the Species database):

Click here to also show infraspecific names in the list below.

Bold, H.C. & Wynne, M.J. (1978). Introduction to the Algae. Structure and reproduction. pp. [i]-xiv, 1-706. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc..

Christensen, T (1980). Algae A taxonomic survey. pp. 1-472. Odense: AiO Print Ltd.

Verification of data
Users are responsible for verifying the accuracy of information before use, as noted on the website Content page.

Some of the descriptions included in AlgaeBase were originally from the unpublished Encyclopedia of Algal Genera, organised in the 1990s by Dr Bruce Parker on behalf of the Phycological Society of America (PSA) and intended to be published in CD format. These AlgaeBase descriptions are now being continually updated, and each current contributor is identified above. The PSA and AlgaeBase warmly acknowledge the generosity of all past and present contributors and particularly the work of Dr Parker.

Descriptions of chrysophyte genera were subsequently published in J. Kristiansen & H.R. Preisig (eds.). 2001. Encyclopedia of Chrysophyte Genera. Bibliotheca Phycologica 110: 1-260.

Created: 11 April 2002 by M.D. Guiry

Verified by: 02 February 2016 by M.D. Guiry

Linking to this page: http://www.algaebase.org/search/genus/detail/?genus_id=43474

Citing AlgaeBase
Please cite this record as:
M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2019. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 23 January 2019.

SITE © 1996 - 2019 M.D. Guiry. All rights reserved.

Website Design : 249 Design Studio