Saturday, July 13, 2013

Filming Paramecium bursaria

July 13, 2013 5:16 pm

I got myself a camera attachment from AmScope for the relatively cheap microscope I have (A OMAX 40X-2000X Digital Binocular Biological Compound Microscope - find it on Amazon). I used my wife's Cannon 3Ti to take the video. Got some water form one of my plant trays and had a look. Not much life, a few unidentified and quite small ciliates, a few Euglena, some unidentified filamentous algae and what looked like some spirochetes. But what caught my attention was one Paramecium and not any old Paramecium but a Paramecium called Paramecium bursaria. What is interesting about this particular Paramecium is that it has a symbiotic relationship with green algae called Zoochlorella.

The video below (taken at roughly 600x to 800x) shows a number of interesting features, some of which I've never seen myself before and it was very interesting when I realized what was going on. In the video you'll see two contractile vacuoles pumping water out of the cell, a large nucleus near the center and an oral grove to the left of the nucleus with some beating cilia. Also notice the many symbiotic algae in the cell. Also around the outside of the Paramecium you'll also see beating cilia. The entire cell is about 100 to 150 microns long. It took a while for the cell to settle down so that I could photograph it. One question, in the first image you'll see some long thin algae (?) like cells drifting from the top to the bottom left corner. I have not been able to identify these but the sample was full of them and I suspect is what gave the water a slightly green color.

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