Biodiversity in a small drop of pondwater


Yesterday was Biodiversity day. Biodiversity is usually celebrated with pictures or collages of a wide range of animals and plants. To think that it is only about 1% of life on earth is mind-boggling.  We are so sensitive to extinctions of mammals, birds, insects and plants today thanks to a few remarkable individuals who have taken protecting their diversity on earth on a war-footing… but we dont even have a metric for microbial life.  Microbial life, though, is brimming everywhere around us, as Saad elegantly described in his post. Below is a snapshot of the biodiversity of a pond on a particular day in June last year. I began studying this pond inspired by my foldscope and it has been some 2 years now. Every time I get a sample, I see something new,

  1. Stentor and Vorticella. There is something about seeing the lion in its native state in Gujarat or Africa. I get the same feeling when I see the Stentor, king of the cilates.

2. Every time I see a Vorticella, I am reminded of Manu’s post on Spasmonemes. I love seeing the the currents they generate and their contracting spasmoneme. Imagine two Vorticellae competing on who is faster 🙂

3. An unknown ciliate (Ciliate-25558-3-LI)briefly provides a glimpse of its features.. What might its biology be?

4. And finally, this is how it sounds when you seem something unexpected, which is almost everyday for me. An unknown worm (Worm-25558-4-LI)

The best thing about microbial diversity is that you dont need to go very far from your place of residence, nor do you need too much of a sample. Armed with a foldscope, you have a chance to see the rest of life on earth, which is about 99% of life.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Saad Bhamla says:

    Beautiful post Laks. As always, very vivid descriptions (king of ciliates 🙂

    Can you remind me what the nomenclature you are using ? I recall there was a post on it, but can’t find it anymore. I will start developing the habit as well to for future posts.


  2. laksiyer says:

    @Saad. The nomenclature is pretty straight forward.. Critter-Post_number-Figure/Video_number-username
    e.g. Worm-25558-4-LI… As soon as you start making a post, you get a post number in the URL. It seems to search well on microcosmos, for. e.g. Ciliate- retrieves all the ciliates that were tagged with this nomenclature. Still working on perfecting it for retrieval.

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