Algae

Coelastrum

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae, can have a variety appearances. Individuals cells can form a multitude of shapes including spheres, cubes, or pyramids. The individual cells are joined together by their cell walls. The cell walls appear smooth, but they may also have wrinkles used for fusion between cells. 

Desmids

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae, are single celled organisms with approximately 5,000 species. Each of these species can look vastly different, but all desmids have a set of characteristics that unite them. The cells are typically symmetrical and divided into subunits called semicells. Semicells are usually connected with a structure known as an isthmus. Desmids have a cell wall with three layers. The three layers have a series of pores. When fluids move through the pores, desmids may move irregularly.

Desmidium 

A type of filamentous green algae, is made of stacks of small discs bundled in pairs. Divisions can be seen between each pair, but the pairs are stacked with other pairs of discs to create a continuous strand. It is not uncommon for the discs to be off center. When this happens, the strand will often have a helical shape. The cell wall are smooth and frequently have microscopic pores.

Diatoms

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae, have distinct structures that set them apart from other species. Diatoms typically have clear bodies with rounded edges. A slit from one end of their body to the other allows them to glide through water. Diatoms have striae along the length of their bodies that runs perpendicular to the slit or raphe. After diatoms have ingested other life, their bodies may not always appear clear. During a diatom bloom, a golden brown scum is often observed on the surface of the water or on the bottom of the body of water. When the scum is near the bottom of the water, diatoms are typically on the surfaces of rocks or other plant life. 

Dinoflagellates

A type of unicellular microorganism with a set of distinct features. Dinoflagellates are also a type of zooplankton. Dinoflagellates can be found in a spherical form with what appears to be a shell, or a more relaxed form. In the more relaxed form, horns extend from the center of the body. Dinoflagellates are known for their unique way of moving in water. Their whirling motion and whipping flagellum propels them through the water. Dinoflagellates are most frequently found in the summer months and they are often responsible for water quality issues. Dinoflagellates may cause taste and odor issues with water. Red Tide is a dinoflagellate known as Karenia brevis.

Laminaria

A type of brown algae, is uncommon in freshwater and typically found along the cold-water coastlines. Laminaria provides shelter and habitats for aquatic life by forming intricate tangles. These tangles are similar to kelp beds in their appearance and function. 

Microspora

A type of filamentous green algae, is most commonly found in other aquatic plant life or moss. While it is most commonly found mixed with other vegetation, it initially attaches to a surface with one of its holdfast cell. The interior of Microspora houses a web of chloroplasts that occupy the entire interior of the cell. 

Oedogonium 

A type of filamentous green algae, is found in still freshwater. Oedogonium can tangle into mats to float freely in the water or attach to other plant life. Oedogonium is unbranched and periodically has dense and rounded cells that are larger than the majority of its other cells. 

Pediastrum

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae, is found in water rich with nutrients during warm summer months. Pediastrum blooms produce dark green water with little to no surface scum. The lack of surface scum is a result of the bloom being most abundant in the water column. Pediastrum typically has 3-5 rings of a distinct geometric shape. 

Porphyra

A type of red algae, is often referred to as seaweed. Porphyra is a multicellular plant that grows in saltwater. Porphyra grows best in cold and shallow waters.

Scenedesmus

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae, is found in waters with high levels of nutrients. It is typically abundant when temperatures are warmer. A bloom of Scenedesmus can transform the water into a vibrant shade of green. Scenedesmus has a distinct structure that is comprised of 4-12 cells within 1 cell wall. The aligned cells typically have 2 spines on both the posterior and the anterior end. The number of cells is usually consistent within colonies.

Spirogyra

A type of filamentous green algae, is one of the most common types of algae. Typically it is located in warm and relatively shallow water. However, Spirogyra can be found free floating or attached to other plant life on the shoreline. For a majority of its life, Spirogyra is a vibrant or dark green. The color may become yellow or slightly brown once the cells are able to reproduce. Spirogyra is most frequently found from the middle of summer through mid-fall. 

Staurustrum

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic algae and a type of desmid, consists of two semicells, each with one chloroplast. The semicells are close in proximity, but are separated by a constriction. Each semicell has two arm-like projections. The arms are covered in a series of ridges, most likely to increase surface area.

Vaucheria Sessilis

A type of yellow-green algae, can be found in both freshwater and marine environments. Vaucheria sessilis can be found in most wetland habitats, including marshes. Vaucheria sessilis structure allows it to stabilize the soil or mud around it. Vaucheria sessilis branches without cross walls to separate cells. The only time cross walls may appear is due to an injury or during reproduction. 

Volvox

A type of phytoplankton or planktonic green algae, has hollow spherical colonies with 500 to 60,000 cells. The cells are contained by a gelatinous wall. Volvox is commonly found in still freshwater all around the world. At high temperatures and high nitrogen levels, some Volvox species can produce harmful algae blooms.