Timelapse Imagery of phytoplankton cell growth & division

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Four generations of cells, showing relationships between parents and daughter cells.

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Watch Ditylum cells divide over multiple generations (MP4)

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Watch Ditylum cells divide over multiple generations (AVI - Windows Media Player)

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Dr. Rob Olson, WHOI Biology Department
Dr. Heidi Sosik, WHOI Biology Department

WHOI Ocean Life Institute Postdoctoral Scholarship (SRL)
WHOI Assistant Scientist Endowed Support (SRL)
Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation (equipment support through RJO)

Phytoplankton cell division and growth are fundamental aspects of marine plankton ecology, yet our insight into these processes at the level of individual organisms is limited. Working with Heidi Sosik and Rob Olson I have developed an automated microphotography system consisting of a CCD camera, Zeiss microscope with automated stage table, and custom computer software to take pictures of 1 - 100 individual phytoplankton cells as they grow and divide. Analysis of these data reveal complex variability among individual cells of a supposedly uniform clone culture. Quantifying such variability within phytoplankton populations is a necessary part of understanding the trajectory that phytoplankton assemblages take over multigenerational scales.

Read more here in our 2012 paper in Limnology and Oceanography.

The link to the right will play a movie of a Ditylum cell and its progeny as they divide over multiple generations (video will take a little time to load).


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Last updated January 31, 2013
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