Friday, 11 December 2015

Living apart together

Volvox Aureus is a Chlorophyte, or green alga. It exists as a grand spherical colony. Each little alga within the colony bears two flagella, whip-like hairs. The individual algae are connected to each other by thin strands of cytoplasm that enable the whole colony to swim in a coordinated fashion. The individual algae also have small red eye spots.

The colonies even have what we could call a front and rear end. Or, since Volvox resembles a little planet, a 'north and south pole'. In the northern region the eyespots are more developed. This helps the colony to swim towards the light. This differentiation of cells makes Volvox quite unique. It is a colony that comes really close to being a multi-celled organism.

Watching groups of colonies under the light microscope is a breathtaking sight. If you leave enough space under the cover slip (with the aid of spots of Vaseline under the corners) the spheres will swim slowly towards the light of the microscope (use darkfield illumination). 

Source: Microscopy.UK

No comments:

Post a Comment