Volvox barberi “flocks”

Balasubramanian Fig 3 A&B

Figure 3 A&B from Balasubramanian 2018. (a) V. barberi flock where 56 colonies gathered over several minutes and rotated coherently and rapidly in the culture well. (b) Schematic of flock in panel a.

At the Fourth International Volvox Meeting in St. Louis, a student from Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania presented a talk and a poster on “flocking” behavior in Volvox barberi. Now a preprint describing his work is available on bioRxiv.

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When I was putting together my post about Rafatazmia, the 1.6 billion-year-old fossil tentatively interpreted as a red alga, I searched Fierce Roller to see what I had written about Bangiomorpha, the previous record-holder for the oldest red algal fossil. I was surprised to find that I never have published anything about Bangiomorpha. This is a serious oversight!

Bangiomorpha was described by Nick Butterfield back in 1990, from a series of fossils collected on Somerset Island in Nunavut, the northernmost territory in Canada:

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Hapalochloris nozakii

Dr. Hisayoshi Nozaki catching a quick nap during the Second International Volvox Meeting in New Brunswick.

Dr. Hisayoshi Nozaki catching a quick nap during the Second International Volvox Meeting in New Brunswick.

University of Tokyo Professor Hisayoshi Nozaki and his colleagues are responsible for describing a large portion of the known diversity of the volvocine algae (see New Volvox species). He described a new species of Astrephomene when he was in high school, leading me to ask him if ‘high school’ meant something different in Japan (it doesn’t). Ironically, since Dr. Nozaki has named numerous species after other people (e.g. Richard Starr, David and Marilyn Kirk, Patrick Ferris, Annette Coleman…), there are, to my knowledge, no species named after him!

Until now, that is: a new paper by Takashi Nakada and Masaru Tomita in the Journal of Phycology introduces Hapalochloris nozakii. This is not just a new species but a new genus, and the bonus is the abbreviated form: H. nozakii.

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Volvox live wallpaper for Android

Anybody remember iGoogle? Kind of a customizable home page for your web browser. I used it until they shut it down, and I even spent a few hours designing a Volvox iGoogle theme (when I should have been writing my thesis):


I think three or four people used it; Google would only tell me “less than 100.” Nevertheless, if you feel the need for some Volvox in your life but you don’t have a handy supply of AF-6 medium, lighted incubator, and dissecting scope, there’s still a way:

We have a good news for all VOLVOX fans. You can grow VOLVOX on your smartphone!

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