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masses of p. bursaria... what's going on?

 
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 1200
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:19 pm    Post subject: masses of p. bursaria... what's going on? Reply with quote

I looked at a large "sample" tray that I keep outside and thought I had some sort of algal bloom going on. All around the edges of the tray, at the waterline, were small green "clumps". I collected some in an eyedropper and was surprised to see that the "clumps" were masses of paramecium bursaria. They disbursed when initially put on the slide, but soon gathered together into several clumps, even though there was plenty of water (too much!) on the slide, and there was lots of room for them to move around (ie: they were not forced into this dense concentration). Wonder why they were doing this?

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Ken Ramos
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 4809
Location: Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats one wild photograph there Charlie Very Happy Did you notice any conjugation going on or any high levels of bacteria in the place where they congregate? Unusual. I have seen not only P. bursaria but other paramecium and protists as well, congregate around an air bubble in the slide and around the edges of the coverslip, they sometimes tend to congregate where oxygen levels are high. Quite interesting, thanks for posting this. Very Happy
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Kenneth Ramos
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Kens Microscopy
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 1200
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know Ken, I specifically looked to see if there were any unusual concentrations of bacteria or other food source, but couldn't see any. Like you, I have seen "grouping" at the edges of a coverslip, or when "pushed" together as water evaporates. But this group was near the middle of the cover glass of a fairly "fresh" wet mount with lots of water. And I first noticed the large "clumps" with my un-aided eye in the outside "tray" where the water was about an inch deep (the tray dimensions are about 12x16 inches). So I'm puzzled!
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Ken Ramos
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Joined: 04 May 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm...I wonder if there might be some sort of trophism going on or maybe an effect caused by the symbiosis with the algae? Paramecium as are some other ciliates, phototrophic. I am brainstorming possiblities here. After I answered your initial post, the thought of some sort of trophism came to mind but I too am still puzzled. Maybe some of the other members may have a clue or answer. If ya got time keep an "eye" on em,' see what else happens. Smile
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Kenneth Ramos
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Wim van Egmond



Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Posts: 440
Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice image! wasn't it the light they were attracted to? Or oxygen? But perhaps it may be a form of protection to group together.

Wim
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 13 Jul 2004
Posts: 1200
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wim... I can imagine several reasons why I might see this on a wet mount slide (oxygen levels or attraction to light). But what puzzles me is the reason it occured (and caught my attention) in the outside tray. A typical overcast Pacific Northwest sky on a cool day makes me tend to rule out phototropism. As I said, the tray is about 12x16 inches, and had about an inch of water in it, (and about a 1/4 inch of debris/mud at the bottom). There were many of these "clumps" easily visible to the unaided eye (even without my reading glasses) so there were very large numbers of individuals accumulated.

Anyway, whatever the reason, it was neat to see but surprisingly hard to get a good shot. When the the water in the slide was "too much" the mass was two or three "layers" deep and they were constantly swirling around (as in this picture). As the water depth in the slide decreased it was easier to photograph, but it then started to look like the typical "artificial" gathering you can get when critters are forceably pushed together by limited space.
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