Chapter Five: Water Plants on Shalimar
The warm, shallow waters of Shalimar provide a supportive environment for the diversification of life. The survey team was overwhelmed by the profusion of unicellular organisms and has only grouped them tentatively into those with nuclei and those without nuclei. Our remaining grouping of the life forms is tentatively based on earth classifications, dividing them into three Kingdoms: Cleaners (organisms that break things down and clean up organic debris), Cookers (organisms that make their own food) and Eaters (organisms that consume other organisms).
Our present theories about the proliferation of life on Shalimar follow this model:
Eventually some of the unicellular organisms divided, but the cells did not separate and go their individual ways. This led to the development of three Phyla that we have named Pancakes, Cords, and Slimes. These organisms all have chloroplasts in their cells. The earliest members of these phyla are collections of joined cells, not true multicellular organisms: they are often clones of a single cell, and continue to function as individuals in spite of being physically joined together. Interdependence and specialization of function developed eventually, however.
Members of another phylum, Rings, sometimes have chloroplasts. Members of this phylum will be dealt with in the following chapter.
Another Phylum, Fuzzes, has no chloroplasts, and so its members are wholly dependent on the energy capture achieved by other cells. These are the decomposers. We will include descriptions of them in this chapter of our report.
Each Phylum has its own page, as there has been a good deal of diversification.
The Phyla are:
- Slimes Sheets of rock-clinging plant cells.
- Pancakes Sheets of floating plant cells.
- Cords Long ropes of adjacent plant cells.
- Fuzzes Cells that digest decaying matter.
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