Introduction -- General features of form and structure -- Cellular organization of blue-green algae -- Cell biology -- Gas vacuoles - Movements -- Culture, nutrition and growth -- Photosynthesis and chemosynthesis -- Heterotrophy and respiration -- Nitrogen metabolism -- Differentiation, reproduction and life cycles -- Freshwater ecology -- Pathogens of blue-green algae -- Marine blue-green algae -- Terrestrial ecology -- The ecology of nitrogen fixation by algae - Symbiosis -- Evolution and phylogeny. The blue-green algae, for a long time a disregarded group of microorganisms, are now a fashionable subject for research. The possible reasons for this are various. One may be that current speculations about the origin and early evolution of life have reminded biologists that this is a group of undoubted antiquity. It has biochemical characteristics, on the one hand, which may be related to an existence on the primitive Earth and, on the other hand, it shows possible links with the green plants which are dominant today. Another reason may be that the electron microscope has revealed features of fine structure which confirm the long suspected kinship of these organisms with the bacteria. Mounting evidence that blue-green algae play an important, if unobtrusive, part in maintaining soil fertility and the often all too obvious fact that they are a nuisance in freshwater have also made their study of some economic importance. This upsurge of interest has been exhilarating, as ways of solving apparently insoluble problems have presented themselves, facts have fallen into place, and intriguing new questions have arisen. Nevertheless there is an increasing mass of specialist literature and now is the time to attempt the assembly of a unified picture of blue-green algae as living organisms. The authors hope that the result will be of use to students and research workers in various branches of botany, microbiology, and biochemistry.