Microbial diversity in a paddy field water sample – Part 1

Hello Everyone!

My explorations with the Foldscope constantly enrich me with interesting experiences of the beautiful and dynamic microbial world, and water samples from different places add a special excitement to my life! My family members know this, so recently my nephew gifted me some water from a paddy field (see Image 1). This water had drained from the paddy field into the surrounding channels. The sample included a bunch of filamentous algae (see Image 2). Since the day he gave me that water sample, every new day has brought the delight of discovering at least one more new microorganism, followed by the most interesting part: investigating the identity of that organism, for which I resorted to YouTube and Google.

As a postgraduate student of botany followed by 30 years as a school teacher, I had learnt the names of various ciliates and flagellates from textbooks, or from observing permanent slides. For the first time now, I am empowered to observe live microbes and their locomotion under my own Foldscope, an experience that gives me immense pleasure. Of course, some uncertainty remains in the identifications, so all of you experts, do please watch and check them!

This paddy field sample is incredibly rich! I observed in it flagellates, ciliates, larvae of Copepods, different types of rotifers, nematodes, Annelid, flatworm, Cyanobacteria, Diatoms, Desmids, Oedogonium, and the list goes on! Here is a virtual tour of my dynamic Foldscope explorations in a few brief sections:

1) FLAGELLATES: I observed a flagellate with a long whip-like flagellum. Its anterior end appeared pointed and it did not have any green pigment. I was fascinated to observe the flagellate changing its shape. From Wikipedia, it looked to me like a Peranema sp. Peranema is supposed to have a shorter flagellum which is not distinctly visible. I too could not see it.

2) CILIATES: In this sample observed Colpoda (the dark one that came in from the lower part of the adjacent video) and Euplotes too, similar to those I had found in my previous home-grown samples (1 and 2). But this time there was a new Ciliate with jumping movement and a tuft of cilia around the head, which my online investigation identified as a Halteria.

More than a month of collecting this drained water sample I continued my observations, even after the sample consisted of mostly decayed materials. At this point, I was delighted to see ciliates attacking the decaying plant material within the water drop sample.

More to come on the microbial diversity in the paddy field water sample, in the next two parts. Read more in Part 2 and Part 3!

Cheers for now!

with Debashree, Jayashree, Chandrika

One Comment Add yours

  1. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear Ashalatha
    with Debashree, Jayashree, Chandrika

    You have all perfected the art of catching these single cell fellas – what a beautiful collection. I specially love halteria jumps!

    Keep exploring.


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