Field of Science

Dancing through life

ResearchBlogging.orgI'm heading off for a weekend away as soon as my other half wakes up, so no time for a proper paper analysis today, just a quick video of some algae dancing:

The organisms shown above are microalgae called Volvox carteri. The large circle is a surrounding membrane which holds within it normal volvox cells (the little white spots) and larger germ line cells (the large white spots) which later hatch to form new Volvox. The reason the three cells above look like they're dancing is because they move by beating little hair like structures called cilia all in time, causing them to move or spin. The three algae shown above have manage to get their cilia moving together at the membrane surface, and are momentarily stuck together because of it.

Here's another video of them dancing on a surface:

Move videos, along with some of a swimming Chlamydomonas, can be found at the Goldstein Labs Youtube channel.


Drescher K, Leptos KC, Tuval I, Ishikawa T, Pedley TJ, & Goldstein RE (2009). Dancing volvox: hydrodynamic bound states of swimming algae. Physical review letters, 102 (16) PMID: 19518757


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