Transmission Light Microscopy
This gallery is a selection of differential interference contrast (DIC) and darkfield imagery of microorganisms collected from salt and fresh water habitats. All imagery was captured using an Olympus BX51 microscope.
Belonging to the kingdom Protista, Paramecium are agile creatures whose hydrodynamic propulsion in the low Reynolds number regime is achieved by rapid synchronised beating of the thousands of cilia carpeting its outer body.
The intake of food is achieved by the beating cilia lining its oral groove, which induce a circular rotating vortex in the surrounding local environment and thereby funnel small debris into its mouth. The food particles are stored in membrane bound compartments called vacuoles which breakdown the food through chemical reactions catalysed by enzymes.
Paramecium feed on the biofilm encapsulating a strand of filamentous Spirogyra algae. The cell nuclei and cytoskeletal network are visible in the filamentous algal cells. The globular spots on the cytoskeletal filaments are motor proteins which ‘run’ along these microtubule ‘highways’. The green structures are the chloroplasts which are helically wound within the interior of the cells and produce sugary food and oxygen as a waste product through photosynthesis.