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Brown clouds of these?
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Poster liquidsquid Offline
Posted 10/01/13 10:22 PM
Description
Any insight into what these are? Not green, but a rusty brown. I see no evidence of green chlorophyll, just rusty. The interesting part is they densely colonize a very specific area around the rim of the pond, 1 foot out, 1 foot deep. The fish tear through them! Looks like someone spilled chocolate milk around the perimeter of the pond.

I can see them with the naked eye as little specks. Actively swimming with cilia. See YouTube video:
http://youtu.be/RrYNP6Ie0xM

Just wait for it to finish...

-Mark
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#352610 - 10/02/13 06:40 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1845
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I should say I know they are likely phytoplankton, just wondering about their ecology and why these ones occupy such a specific strip of water in the pond. It seems to be where the cool water meets the warm surface water.
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#352636 - 10/02/13 10:29 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
Shorty Offline
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Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4073
Loc: Raymond, NE
Neat pictures!

Hopefully Bill Cody will chime in soon, I don't have a clue what they are.

Based on a google search and some pictures ewest posted of some of Bill's work I am going to guess some type of "Pediastrum duplex".

http://nordicmicroalgae.org/taxon/Pediastrum%20duplex?media_id=Pediastrum%20duplex_3.jpg



Edited by Shorty (10/02/13 11:17 AM)

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#352746 - 10/03/13 06:29 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19072
Loc: Miss.
Neat pics ! A guess - likely a fall bloom with the species relegated to a niche environment by temp and light.
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#352750 - 10/03/13 07:35 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: ewest]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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LS, what equipment did you use to take the video?
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#352764 - 10/03/13 10:03 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
ewest Offline
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Shorty - neat sight. That is cold water algae - Nordic species.
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#352765 - 10/03/13 10:03 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1845
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I used a Celestron microscope. I have the first model of the one listed here, which is now a version II.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/917594-REG/celestron_44341_lcd_digital_microscope_ii.html

My dad got it for my son. he was a professional microscopist at Kodak using electron microscopes to look at film and silver emulsions, he wanted Joe to have something to see the life in the pond which got my dad into science as a kid. He still has some fantastic Leica microscopes in the basement that have much better optics, but for larger life forms, this thing is great!

For the price, it is fantastic!
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#352767 - 10/03/13 10:05 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
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liquidsquid that is great vid. footage. Tell us about the process.
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#352769 - 10/03/13 10:12 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12109
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
They could be one of several species. I would have to see them personally through the microscope to tell which species they are. From your description and the pics they are likely a Chrysophyte alga called Uroglenopsis, and probably Uroglenopsis americana. From the pictures, the confirming feature for you is if the wind from the pond has a slightly fishy odor. Try to skim some of it up in a jar cap the jar and then smell the air space after it has been sealed for a couple hours. The odor will be now stronger fishy. There are several species of algae (some green, some bluegreen) that will superficially look like this when one has only low definition pics to work from.


Edited by Bill Cody (10/03/13 10:17 AM)

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#352797 - 10/03/13 08:33 PM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1845
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Wow, your ID seems quite correct. Thanks Bill! I have gotten a slight fishy odor from the pond. Today the clouds were dispersed, no direct sun.

I was simply able to put a plastic pretzel container down into one of the clouds, and tilted the container up to let air out, and the cloud in. I could clearly see the many thousands or more of little lives swimming about in there in the sunshine. When I let the water settle, they start to form up groups, almost like "clouds" of flying ants when mating over tree tops.

When I brought the container up to the house, they settled densely towards the bottom. The first try my son and I mashed a bunch by putting a slide cover on top of the water drop on the slide. Since we did not know what to look for, we thought they were boring old clumps of algae. They are too large and fragile for that! Instead we put down a slide with a single drop of water containing many of these with no cover, and used the medium-power objective. The high-power objective is too much, and it hits the water drop.

Otherwise it was a matter of trying to keep a 7yo boy still long enough not to wiggle the table, and my wife not stomping about in the kitchen. You can see the water wiggling as I was asking her to stop for a minute.

I am going to re-author the video, didn't realize the noise as the scope has no sound source.
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#352804 - 10/03/13 09:35 PM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1845
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I "Fixed" the video. Improved exposure, added a inappropriate song ;-).

http://youtu.be/RrYNP6Ie0xM


Edited by liquidsquid (10/03/13 09:36 PM)

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#352859 - 10/04/13 10:18 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
Bill Cody Online   content
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Registered: 04/18/02
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That is pretty good video and images from a $250 microscope and camera. Some critics may try to tell you these are other genera, but I doubt it due to their color and odor. There are several species of Uroglenopsis, however U.americana is most common in the Midwest and my best guess from just looking at the video. It favors hard water and often has best growth in late summer. There is another very similar looking alga with the genus name Uroglena. Main difference is Uroglenopsis individual cells have a flattened or truncated end toward the center of the colony whereas Uroglena has tear dropped shaped cells. Your microscope may not be good enough to see the shape of the individual cells. As a reference the colonies are around one half millimeter in diameter (0.5mm or 500um) which is why you can see them without a microscope.


Edited by Bill Cody (10/04/13 10:20 AM)

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#352872 - 10/04/13 11:31 AM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19072
Loc: Miss.
Thanks Bill and liquidsquid. Nice job !
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#352891 - 10/04/13 01:36 PM Re: Brown clouds of these? [Re: liquidsquid]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1845
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Yeah, we have very hard alkaline water in the pond, so that adds to it. The little microscope has been a heck of a lot of fun to bring to church, and soon to Cub Scouts. One of the more fun things it to put some filter media from an aquarium under a slide. Ridiculous amounts of gizmos to check out in that!
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