The brown algae represent a group in which multicellularity arose independently. These organisms display many common features of distant groups such as higher plants but there are also some fundamentaldifferences in their reproductive strategies and early developmental mechanisms. Two models for brown algal development have been studied: the fucoid algae and Ectocarpus. The development of new cellular and genomics tools is making these systems more tractable to investigation. Our focus of attention has been the very early development of fucoid algal zygotes and embryos. This talk will report some recent findings relating to the co-ordination of zygotic cell polarity and cell division.