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Images: The Amazing Acquired Phototroph!

M. rubrum can switch between two alternative growth strategies. (Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services)
A single-celled acquired phototroph is injected with fluorescent probes that highlight its various interior parts, including those appropriated from algae it consumed. (Matt Johnson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Fluorescent probes highlight various interior parts of an acquired phototroph, including organelles stolen from algae it consumed. The ciliate uses stolen chloroplasts to photosynthesize its own food. It also steals the alga's nucleus, using it to make more chloroplasts and enhance its photosynthetic capabilities. (Matt Johnson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The amount of sunlight drives M. rubrum's choice of growth strategy. (Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services)
As a WHOI postdoctoral fellow, Holly Moeller peered into the microscopic world of a remarkable single-celled organism with a "dual personality." It can behave like both an animal and a plant. She is now an assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Ken Kostel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
WHOI biologist Matt Johnson collects samples of single-celled marine organisms called mixotrophs. These curious organisms have the ability to switch between consuming prey and appropriating parts from their prey to produce food via photosynthesis—just like a plant. (Photo courtesy of Holly Moeller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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