Reblog: ‘Flying amoebae’

We’re re-blogging this great post by Edward Mitchell from the University of Neuchâtel on the blog ‘From inside the shell‘. He talks about the dispersal of testate amoebae around the world and one particular study that aimed to quantify this. Is there really such a thing as a flying amoeba?! Read more about how we use these micro-organisms to reconstruct past hydrological change here.

From inside the shell

Contributed by Edward A. D. Mitchell

Laboratory of Soil Biology, University of Neuchâtel

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings

Coming down is the hardest thing

Jeff Lynne/ Tom Petty

Since the early days of protistology it has been known that testate amoebae can be transported passively by wind. Darwin had collected dust that had fallen on the Beagle while sailing off the coast of Africa. He sent the sample to Ehrenberg who observed it under his microscope and found many protists (Darwin, 1846). Observations such as this have led to the idea that microscopic organisms could travel far and colonise all potentially favourable habitats (i.e. everything is everywhere, but, the environment selects; (Baas Becking, 1934, de Wit and Bouvier, 2006)). It is therefore perhaps surprising that not much experimental research has been done to quantify the amoebae that are transported…

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