The Biology of Algae (VHS)
Branches on the Tree of Life: Algae (DVD) 2004
Distributed by BioMEDIA Associates, PO Box 1234, Beaufort, SC 29901-1234; 877-661-5355
Produced by eBioMEDIA
DVD and VHS, color, VHS - 20 min.; DVD - 20 min.; computers with DVD-ROM drives and Adobe Reader 4.0 or later are required
Jr. High - lower level college
Biology, Science, Teacher Training
Date Entered: 11/03/2004Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO
Algae is an umbrella word that encompasses five evolutionary lines of photosynthetic organisms: red algae, brown algae, green algae, dinoflagellates, and euglenids. All forms of algae are eukaryotic cells; many are single cell species, while others are colonial forms, multicellular kelps, and seaweeds. Red algae is only covered briefly, but the other types of algae are explored in more depth. Chromista - which includes the brown sea weeds - also include several non photosynthetic organisms. This segment highlights the adaptations that some of these organisms have made in order to live in more demanding habitats. Dinoflagellates are responsible for red tides along coastlines; in such concentrations they cause fish kills and shell fish poisoning among humans. In the Euglenids segment, the diversity and behavior of green euglenids is explored, along with several non-photosynthetic euglenids. The Green Line of Evolution explores green algae and plants. Common algae genera are observed, as well as the life cycle of the spirogyra, which includes a sexual process that results in the production of drought-resistant zygotes. The evolutionary sequence in this section demonstrates how single cells might have changed into complex colonies.
Each segment in the video version lasts from 2-5 minutes and is designed to be used to support in-class instruction and as a visual enhancement for learning units. The video is structured to easily start and stop for each algae species.
Music and sound effects are pleasant and add to the overall viewing experience. The color photography of various algae species is superb and augments the narration.
The DVD interactive learning guide provides menu-driven modules that are easy to navigate. Information is clearly stated and enhanced by visual images. The graphics demonstrate the principles and actions being described and explained. The teaching guide is available for free download on the eBioMEDIA web site, together with free images and significant other content areas to support the teaching of biology.
The Biology of series is a high quality product that supports classroom instruction with concise, understandable facts enhanced by visual images and graphics that support the concepts outlined in each section. This program would be suitable for junior and senior high schools, as well as beginning level college biology courses. Highly recommended.