Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rolling and Tumbling

This colony of organisms is Synura, a member of the Golden or Chrysophyte algae, that I found in a water sample in the shallows of a reed swamp. Each member of the colony has a pair of unequal length flagellae (to fine to see at this magnification), whose constant beating sends the colony rolling and tumbling through the water. It's about a fifth of a millimetre in diameter. When high concentrations of Synura build up in water bodies they impart a fishy taste, posing a problem for the water industry.

A static image doesn't do justice to it, but the short video clip below gives a better impression of its constant movement. 


  1. Does everything spin clockwise like this fascinating colony?
    Beautifully captured. I love the colors in the still photo.

  2. That's a really interesting question Eva-Maria. Come to think of it, I seem to think most similar organisms that I've looked at down the microscope have clockwise rotation. There's another one that does at

    You've aroused by curiosity - I'll have to find out now...


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