Volvox videos by Shigeru Gougi

Shigeru Gougi (@sgougi on Twitter) has a YouTube channel of video microscopy, including several videos of Volvox:

There’s a good mix of developmental stages here: juveniles (smaller spheroids with nothing visible inside), reproductive age asexual colonies (larger spheroids with small green dots, which are asexual reproductive cells called gonidia), mature asexual colonies (with small spheroids inside that will eventually “hatch” out to become juveniles), and pregnant females (containing yellowish zygotes that will mature into desiccation-resistant spores). I’m not sure about the species ID, but with such a large number of cells, they’re probably in the section Volvox (sometimes known as Euvolvox): [Read more…]

“Flocking” Volvox in the Regeneron Science Talent Search

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.

In 2017, Ravi Balasubramanian, a student from Harriton High School in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, presented a talk and a poster on “flocking” behavior in Volvox barberi at the Fourth International Volvox Meeting in St. Louis. In 2018, Balasubramanian posted a preprint of his work to bioRxiv. Now his work has earned him a place among the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2020, “the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.”

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PhD position: evolution of multicellularity

Lund University logo

This is straight from the ALGAE-L listserv, but I thought it might be of interest:

PhD studentship: The ecology and evolution of multicellularity

A fully funded PhD position is available to work on evolutionary transitions to multicellularity. The student will work within the molecular ecology and evolution lab as well as the aquatic ecology group at the Department of Biology, Lund University.

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Jackson Wheat on misunderstanding multicellularity

Jackson Wheat has a new video answering Creation Ministries International’s claims that multicellularity is a problem for evolution. CMI’s strategy seems to be

  1. Bring up a topic in evolutionary biology
  2. Pretend that there haven’t been thousands of scientific papers published on that topic
  3. Make an argument from incredulity as if the question they’re asking hasn’t already been answered

Jackson does a great job tearing down CMI’s assertions one by one.

How to identify a predatory journal

A colleague recently asked me how to know if a journal he’d been asked to review for was predatory, and I didn’t have a great answer. I suggested that the fact that they were asking him to review was probably a good sign, since the worst of the predatory journals don’t bother with that formality. Some do, though, so that’s no guarantee. I wish I’d had a better answer.

The fact is, it’s not always easy to distinguish legitimate journals from predatory ones. A step in the right direction, though, is defining what we mean by a predatory journal. A recent article in Nature has tried to do that:

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices. (Grudniewicz et al. 2019)

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Volvox wall art

I posted earlier this week about some Chlamydomonas art, just in time for the holidays. Also still available, though, are prints on canvas of Volvox aureus, in the most niche Etsy store ever:

Volvox aureus

Volvox aureus by me

These look great if I do say, and they are ready to hang. 12″ x 12″, $40 on Etsy…would make a great gift for microbe enthusiasts. I still have four of the original eight.

Volvox in Brooklyn

Atlas Obscura has a new article by Sabrina Imbler, “Checking in on the Algae of a Brooklyn Reservoir with a Microbiologist“:

ON A FALL DAY, SALLY Warring had come to one of New York’s grandest stagnant pools of water to find an old friend. She is at Ridgewood Reservoir, a 50-acre wetland somewhere on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, looking for a colony of cells named Volvox.

Spoiler alert:

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