Polymorphism, cannibalism, epigenetics, and biological conflict: The many stories of Tetrahymena vorax – Part I

There are fascinating stories in biological systems and here is one I recently learnt thanks to the ASSETT program. https://tetrahymenaasset.vet.cornell.edu/science-modules/by-name/cannibalism-and-interspecific-predation/ Tetrahymena vorax is much larger than Tetrahymena thermophila. It also looks very different, swims more like a fish and very interestingly shows a great degree of polymorphisms in shape. As the resources in a growth…

More Pollen!

During our second week of the Summer School Students Workshop 2018 at the The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, we observed the diversity of flowers using the Foldscopes we assembled the week before. Here is a lovely bouquet of flowers we collected from around us: Lets start with our “model” flower, the Chembarathi or Hibiscus:…

Snaps from first session

These were the results of my first attempt using my Foldscope and I enjoyed the time that I spent doing this. The more I viewed, the more I became interested in doing so.

Viewing black cumin “infested with pests” using Foldscope

Black cumin is an Indian spice, which was found infested with some kind of pests. A pest was captured and viewed under Foldscope. The closer view helped us to identify the insect as “Cigerrette bettle” (Lasioderma serricorne) (Source: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/stored/cigarette_beetle.htm). With the help of Foldscope, we were able to study the insect much closely and also viewed…

A fly wing

I’ve only had my Foldscope a short time and am still learning how get the best possible images. I found a fly in a spiders web at home and decided to take a closer look at its wing. I’m fascinated by the tiny hairs that cover the wing. What purpose do they serve?

Danjugan Island Ecosystems & Big Blue Network

We introduced Foldscopes to 25 kids participating in a week-long camp know as the Danjugan Island Environment Education Program.  The kids used their Foldscopes to get a different perspective of the island’s  5 different eco-systems which they also explored on hikes and by snorkelling.               Three Foldscopes with different…

Exploring the sea at the dining table Episode 3

Hello Foldscopers! Do you ever look at algae and think, “That looks yummy”? Well, I do. Maybe not when they are in their raw form, but I certainly do when they arrive at my dining table. I eat all kinds of edible multicellular marine algae (seaweed) on a daily basis. Edible seaweeds play an important…

A simple way to observe ‘invisible’ structures!

By now you all must have understood about the love I have for the plant pots I have at home. And also the fact that I rarely get out… I had these things growing in one of my plant pots. Foldscoping the blue stuff (it was difficult to separate it from the mud), I got…

The Salty Microcosmos – 2

Centrifugation was a really good idea to get out those protozoans from sea water. So I centrifugated the sea water and used the denser parts at bottom of the tubes for observation. I added two rice grains to the centrifugate and observed after a day. Some observations : Added a drop of 1% Methylene Blue…

A copepod waves hello

Hi Foldscopers! Copepod sighting from Kitakyushu, Japan! I would like to share a video of  my friend Blair and I seeing a copepod for the first time on March 25th, 2018 with a Foldscope. I scooped some pond water with a paper cup (reused from picnic lunch) from a lily pond where a few koi fish…

Imaging Tetrahymena thermophila cilia

Tetrahymena thermophila are covered by about 21 rows cilia each with about 30 cilia. These 600 odd cilia allow it to propagate by beating in a coordinated way. The cilia also surround the oral apparatus to sweep food into it. These cilia are probably in the 1 micrometer range and hence imaging them requires one…

The Salty Microcosmos – 1

About a month ago had visited a beach at Juhu, Mumbai. The reason was a talk at Prithvi theatre – Chai and Why? I hope most of the Mumbai-residents here might know about it. So after the talk, went to Juhu beach and collected some sea water. It was wonderful to have seen such a…

Wings of Trichogramma chilonis, an important biocontrol agent

Trichogramma chilonis is one of the most widely used biocontrol agents in India. This minute parasitoid is capable of parasitising the eggs of a number of lepidopteran pests on a variety of agricultural crops. [Specimen obtained from Omprakash Navik]  

Stomates!

Stomates/stomata are pores present on epidermis of plant parts that facilitate gaseous exchange. This pore is bounded by guard cells which are modified parenchyma cells that regulate size of stomatal opening. Some playing with plants at home and one interesting plant at college led to these images. —————————————– Stomata on leaves of Catharanthus roseus, same epidermal peel…

Fern gametophytes?

Took some matured leaflets from a Nephrolepis plant growing at our college and scraped the brown sacs (the sori) on its lower epidermis over the mud of my plant pots at home with an aim to disperse spores. The next day found some heart-shaped, tiny, green structures growing on the mud. Foldscoping those, it did seem like…

Getting to know my (plant) neighbors Episode 1 – Camellia japonica 椿

Hi Foldscopers! フォールドスコープ探検隊の皆さんこんにちは! I went for a very long walk with a mission, follow a river from the upper watershed all the way down to the mouth. 休日の散歩に、近くを流れる川に沿って上流から河口まで散策しました。 Along the way, I found many kinds of plants, both wild and cultivated. I consider them my neighbors, and I’d like to introduce them to you! And…

Our team during visit

Sea urchin spike

Found this sad sea urchin washed up on the beach last week: Here is one of its scary looking spikes: Was hard to see anything with the usual Foldscope set up. So after digging around a bit on the Microcosmos site, I found this post: A simple hack for reflection/epi-illumination using the foldscope Using a…

Seethaphazam pollen

Seethaphazam or Custard apple (Annona squamosa) trees have just started flowering: Heres the inside of the flower: Heres its stamen: I think thats dry pollen coming off it. After about an hour in glycerol, here’s some pollen dyads: (One dyad possibly has a pollen tube?) Pollen was also seen as tetrads:

We have hair, they have things bizarre…

Animals aren’t unique when it comes to having things growing on their skin. Plants have an even bizarre set of things growing on their skin too, some of which secrete chemicals that are secondary metabolites. Foldscoping these reveal things about what ‘hair’ they have! Some of the explorations as follows : 1. Cucurbita maxima :…

Karuvaipillai Pollen

Karuvaipillai (Murraya koenigii) is flowering now! Here is some pollen from the flowers: Here is the same pollen after a couple of hours in glycerol: (The black lines in the background are the 1mm grid — would be good to have a more detailed grid to allow for generating a scale bar….)