2020 Small World in Motion Competition

Ciliates (Vorticella sp. and Paramecium sp.)

Roland Gross

Gruenen, Switzerland
Differential Interference Contrast
10X (Objective Lens Magnification)

Mr. Roland Gross, a microscopy enthusiast and hobbyist, captured this movie of ciliates (Voriticella and Paramecium) foraging for food with Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) microscopy. The stalked ciliates attach themselves to substrates and utilize hair like organelles called cilia to direct passing nutrients into their mouth. By contrast, the Paramecium (shown as a “slipper” looking organism) uses its cilia for movement and sensation while it feeds. Movies such as this are especially difficult to capture because limited depth of focus can make keeping these active creatures in focus for any length of time nearly impossible. Recent advancements in high-end research microscopes help lock the focus on the subject matter, but it is not yet commonly available for non-research applications.