Osmoregulation in case of Paramecium Caudatum

Eric Pa├člick

project report

During my exchange year at Ewing High School (New Jersey, USA) in 2011/2012, I had the opportunity to use the labs of Prof. Dr. Don Lovett at the College of New Jersey in Ewing (School of Science, Department of Biology) for small experiments. Initially, I studied the crabs of Don Lovett. As I had already studied hermit crabs and marine iguanas in previous projects, I decided to use Paramecium caudatum (a unicellular organism) for the following experiments. The reasons are simple: The company Carolina supplies many unicellular organisms and experimental equipment to the college exactly for days when experiments are planned. This was important as I had to go to High School until 2:30 pm followed by a lot of homework and thus I had to perform most experiments on days when the school was closed, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. During these times there was also less demand for the college's microscope lab, which was very good and included differential contrast microscopes (DIC). While unicellular organisms lead to low contrast in conventional optical microscopes due to their water content of up to 98%, the DIC method yields better contrast and even a three-dimensional impression.

I studied the food intake and osmoregulation of Paramecium caudatum and I am presenting my results on osmoregulation here. I investigated two questions:

  1. Which techniques are most suitable for high resolution imaging of the contractile vacuole with high contrast?
  2. How does the activity of the contractile vacuole of Paramecium caudatum depend on the chemical composition of the surrounding solution?
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