Title

Motility in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a single-celled, photosynthetic green alga. With two flagella and a light-sensing eyespot, each cell is capable of moving itself into a light-rich environment to optimize its photosynthetic output. The ability to move in response to light is crucial in a natural setting because otherwise algal cells would sink out of the photozone and be unable to photosynthesize, severely restricting energy production and viability. Motility is therefore a crucial contributor to fitness in C. reinhardtii. In response to predation and settling rate-based selection, Dr. Herron and colleagues have observed the evolution of simple multicellular structures in several populations of C. reinhardtii. These multicellular isolates should rely on photosynthesis just as the unicellular strains do, meaning they will have a similar dependence on motility to optimize energy production and to be viable. It is then important that we test whether or not they are capable of exhibiting phototaxis. I will measure phototactic ability in unicellular and multicellular strains by comparing photographs before and after timed exposure to directional light. Images will be analyzed using ImageJ software, which will allow any algal movement over a set time period to be clearly distinguished. Should it be discovered that multicellular isolates or their predecessors are capable of phototaxis, as unicellular strains are, it will indicate that multicellular isolates are likely capable of motility and are potentially viable in a natural environment. These results will provide insight about potential ways unicellular organisms evolved to produce functioning multicellular organisms.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 17th, 11:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 PM

Motility in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

South UC Ballroom

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a single-celled, photosynthetic green alga. With two flagella and a light-sensing eyespot, each cell is capable of moving itself into a light-rich environment to optimize its photosynthetic output. The ability to move in response to light is crucial in a natural setting because otherwise algal cells would sink out of the photozone and be unable to photosynthesize, severely restricting energy production and viability. Motility is therefore a crucial contributor to fitness in C. reinhardtii. In response to predation and settling rate-based selection, Dr. Herron and colleagues have observed the evolution of simple multicellular structures in several populations of C. reinhardtii. These multicellular isolates should rely on photosynthesis just as the unicellular strains do, meaning they will have a similar dependence on motility to optimize energy production and to be viable. It is then important that we test whether or not they are capable of exhibiting phototaxis. I will measure phototactic ability in unicellular and multicellular strains by comparing photographs before and after timed exposure to directional light. Images will be analyzed using ImageJ software, which will allow any algal movement over a set time period to be clearly distinguished. Should it be discovered that multicellular isolates or their predecessors are capable of phototaxis, as unicellular strains are, it will indicate that multicellular isolates are likely capable of motility and are potentially viable in a natural environment. These results will provide insight about potential ways unicellular organisms evolved to produce functioning multicellular organisms.