Algae Under the Microscope

Members of the Ackworth Shool Natural History Society had a look at some algae under the microscope this evening and I took some pictures, using my mobile phone, of what they saw.

Spiral Algae

The first image shows a collection of all sorts of things, including a spiral alga.


Blanket weed might be a nuisance if you are trying to get a wildlife pond established but the culprit, spirogyra, looks quite striking under the microscope. The chloropasts, the structures containing the plant’s chlorophyll, are arranged in a distinctive helical pattern.

Volvox and a Diatom

The samples that we looked at contained many diatoms. These are single-celled algae which have interesting geometric shapes. We also saw volvox. This is an alga that grows in spherical colonies. In the picture above, the spheres inside the large sphere are daughter colonies. Volvox is unusual because it is able to swim towards light using many flagella on the colony’s outer surface.