Chlamydomonas

One to(o) Many

Multicellular Evolution Theory Recently, a study showed that Chlamydomonas were capable for multicellular “evolution” when under predatory pressure. Basically, scientists set loose some hungry Paramecia into Chlamydomonas territory and things got stressful. I wanted to write a post about this because 1) you’ve seen videos and pictures of these microorganisms before and 2) it’s important to straighten out some misunderstandings about the results. Strength in Numbers Under the threat of predation, Chlamydomonas, usually flagellated and single-celled, will begin to form multicellular structures. Even after the threat was removed, they remained “multicellular”, though I prefer to call them “advanced colonies”. There…

amoeba

The Root Cause

The Rhizosphere Around the roots of plants, there is a tiny world called the rhizosphere. While it may be small, it is not insignificant. In fact, the rhizosphere plays an important role in cycling carbon and nitrogen between bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, and the plant roots themselves. The easiest way to see the rhizosphere is by collecting water that drips out the bottom of a flower pot. You don’t need anything more than about 100x magnification to see all the players (except the bacteria). Rhizosphere Players How does this little ecosystem work? Let’s start with the bacteria. Plants will release precious…

oral grooves

Oral Grooves Are So Hot!

It’s Not A Dentist Thing Oral grooves are the mouths of single-celled microorganisms. Unlike complex organisms such as humans, cells can only ingest their food whole since they don’t have hard body parts like a jaw and teeth to help them chew. Another use for the oral groove is during conjugation or genetic exchange (microorganism sex, basically). You can often see paramecia engaged in this activity, stuck together like armless lovers. Eating and Digesting What happens to the food inside the paramecium? Digestive enzymes in sacs called vesicles attack the food and break it down into smaller, useable molecules. Proteins…