Pond Rotifers and Algae

I woke up early this morning with the intention of grading some exams but was distracted by the microscope.  Last night the kids and I had looked at the pond water and discovered that the pond has bloomed with rotifers. I have always been fascinated with rotifers, partly because they are so small, and partly because a specific group of them, the bdelloid rotifers only have female organisms… or rather, we have never seen a male bdelloid rotifer. They are also very resistant to radiation and age much much more slowly than we do.

You ever wake up at 5am and think to yourself “I wonder if I counted the number of rotifers with my microscope ever day or two right through winter, if they would dissappear gradually as it got colder, or do they stay the same through out the season?”.  Ya? Me too.

Data: scanning along the length of the moss (roughly one cover slip length) twice, counted 5  and 7 with corona extended.  If I were to have counted those with retracted, these numbers would have doubled easily.

What I learned about bdelloid rotifers this morning:

  • They move around quite a bit, scooting on their stalk in a sort of sea horse fashion.
  • The can retract their corona and when they do their head looks a little like a snails
  • It is incredibly hard to get a picture of anything that moves in the microscope using your iPad after drinking a cup of coffee, so you will have to settle for some green algae.

Closterium sp. There were about as many of these as rotifers.

Gorgeous unidentified green algae. How does a single cell get shaped like that?

About SubOptimist

I am an Associate Professor in the Science Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston. I teach introductory biology courses at both the majors and non-majors level in addition to microbiology. Previous to that I spent 7 years as a postdoctoral researcher on different viruses. While I don't miss being on the "grant treadmill", I think better when I write and miss writing up data for papers and grants; this blog helps me with that a little. And sometimes my kids' insanely funny and cute antics need to be shared with the world. Any view expressed in this blog is that of me personally and not Georgia Perimeter College or the GPC Clarkston Science Department.
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