General Characteristics It is in some respects the largest kingdom. It contains the tiniest known cells. Members of the group are called monerans. It is estimated that monerans are more numerous and have a greater combined weight than any other living things on the earth. Key characteristic which places organisms in the kingdom by themselves: they are all procaryotic. Monerans thrive in places where no other living thing is known to exist.
Interesting Facts Been found in the atmosphere 20,000 feet up; they ride on dust particles. Been found in hot springs at 185 o F. Been found in melted glacial water, below 32 o F. A single drop of water can contain 50 billion bacteria. One gram of common soil contains from 1 million to 100 million of them. Every cubic meter of air contains 100-20,000 of them. They exist in every natural water supply (including the water you drink). Hundreds of 1,000's of monerans grow and thrive in your body.
Key Role of Bacteria to decompose organisms in the soil and water Other Uses: forming cheeses, making vinegar, making butter, making cultured buttermilk, retting flax, making sauerkraut, tanning leather, forming silage
General Characteristics They can live alone in water, soil, or even snow. Many float in water; some appear to slide along. Many grow in chains of cells called filaments (long, thin strands of similar cells). Some colonies are shaped like discs or globs. Certain blue-green algae, when in abundance, affect the taste or smell of water. Others produce poisons, making the water unfit to drink.