I had so many zebrafish in my time as an erstwhile aquarium owner. Had I only known they were hanging out with such cool green goo. Check, check, a-check-it-out. (I’m the worst.) —MN
This curious little green alga, referred to as Mermaid’s Wineglass (Acetabularia acetabulum), grows in clusters on rocks or shells covered with sand in sheltered parts of rocky coasts within its range. Although it grows to 3 cm, it consists of just one cell.
For anyone whose experience in biology is limited to what you might have picked up in high school, it might be tough to imagine that something so large, so immediately tangible, is single-celled.
Each wineglass has a nucleus seated within its rhizoid, a cluster of appendages at the base which serves as a “root” system to anchor the cell. During reproduction, this gigantic nucleus (by everyday cellular standards, anyway) divides into many subsequent nuclei, which then undergo meiosis and move upward to be released as gametes and make more tiny giant algal umbrellas.
“Cool beans,” as my aunt used to say. —MN
NYBG isn’t big on marine species, so seeing this incredible seaweed—widely held as the world’s largest single-cell organism—stopped me in my tracks. It looks like a garden gazing ball, or a witch ball. It is, in a word, stunning. ~AR
This odd green seaweed, known as Sailor’s Eyeball (Valonia ventricosa), looks like a dark green marble, and consists of a single large cell attached to the substrate by a cluster of filaments called rhizoids. Younger plants have a bluish sheen, but older ones become overgrown with incrusting coralline red seaweeds.
Yes, yes, more microphotography reblogification. But you know you love to see the similarities between the sizable and the scanty.
Asexual reproductive cells of green algae at 24x magnification. 7th place in the 1984 Nikon Small World Competition.