Sunday, July 31, 2011
Dog Vomit Plasmodium
Well it THAT title didn't catch your attention I'm sure this photo will.
This is the Dog Vomit Plasmdium (also called Dog Vomit Slime Mold )
Why is this worth talking about? Because this is one very cool organism!
If you were to cut this in half the two halves would move back toward each other and fuse back together.
This seeming lump is capable of telling time very accurately in laboratory situations. If the scientists provide a stimulus on the hour every hour the plasmodium will quickly learn to anticipate the stimulus and will get ready for it.
Now for the science part.
This organism alternates life styles. One phase is a single cell that is able to move about like an amoeba. This form eats bacteria. It has two types of reproduction. One is simple cell division - one cell divides to form two free living single celled organisms. If this form finds another individual that is reproductively compatible the two cells will fuse together. These fused cells form the large plasmodium structure (seen above).
The plasmodium is capable of moving short distances but when the local food supply runs out it will produce spores that can be carried by wind or water. The spores will hatch into the single celled amoeba like phase and the cycle continues.
Isn't Biology Amazing?