The 8th part of Vol. 16 of the well-known series ‘Die Binnengewasser’ to be taken care of by Forster deals with the Conjugatophyceae, the Zygnemataceae excluded, i.e., with those families of unicellular conjugate green algae which are usually referred to by the collective name of ‘desmids’. The part in question is published in two separate issues, the first of which is reviewed here and the second is planned to appear by the end of 1984. Forster aims at an almost exhaustive survey in two parts of all desmid taxa of the world more or less regularly encountered in freshwater plankton. Most decidedly not only the typically planktonic forms are included – as is known, only a small fraction of the desmid taxa is truly euplanktonic- but also those tychoplanktonic and benthic ones which easily get into open water. Forster’s book starts with a general introduction dealing with the morphology, reproduction and ecology of the group, and purposely kept rather concise with references to similar chapters in such well-known monographs as those of Krieger (1933) and R£j2iCka (1977), but contains all essential elements for the reader to acquire an elementary understanding of the biology of these algae adequate enough to identify them successfully.