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Stories by Psi Wavefunction

Extinction (or lateral transfer?)

Extinction (or lateral transfer?)

This has been coming for a while, but I needed a push to make it official. I’m not much of a blogger anymore (four posts a year doesn’t quite cut it), so it’s only fair that I wrap things up at SciAm Blogs, at least for the foreseeable future.

December 15, 2014 — Psi Wavefunction
Greetings from Halifax, a world centre of protistology!

Greetings from Halifax, a world centre of protistology!

I finally made the move I was supposed to do months (if not years) ago! Through a strange twist of evolutionary contingency (the same kind through which our kind came about in the first place), Dalhousie University in Halifax has become host to one of the worst infestations of protistologists in the world.

March 22, 2014 — Psi Wavefunction
A Fork in the Red, 2013 (Medium: algae on glass)

A Fork in the Red, 2013 (Medium: algae on glass)

Isn’t it great when your art subjects cooperate and model themselves? Algae are inherently photogenic — especially if they look like fuzz or goo to the naked eye!

November 10, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction

An ink dinoflagellate

Things have been a little tense lately… here, have a dinoflagellate! (kinda looks like a space ship, no?) This ink drawing is based on Protoperidium, a dinoflagellate notable for its ‘pallium feeding‘: upon finding something tasty but awkwardly-shaped, it extrudes a ‘feeding veil’ in the form of a pseudopod-like structure, which then envelops the prey [...]

October 18, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction

Handy resource for freshwater protists and micro-adventuring

There exists a wonderful book with an illustrated key to the more common protists you can find in freshwater: Free-Living Freshwater Protozoa by Paddy Patterson. However, as many good things in life, it is out of print and thus very expensive (though relatively cheap-ish in the above link at the time of writing this).

October 16, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
A polyp’s pet rotifers

A polyp’s pet rotifers

As penance for irregular posting, have a pair of seemingly-symbiotic rotifers in a cnidarian (jellyfish) polyp. There were several of them on several polyps, and they seemed not to mind the tentacles (loaded with stinging cells containing a harpoon-like weapon with paralytic abilities).

September 14, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction

Random image:

To keep things alive while I’m at an awesome conference (that you should follow on twitter, see previous post), let’s have a random image of tardigrade (water-bear) guts; the brown stuff is semi-digested food.

July 30, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction

Theileria gets naked and rides the spindle

Hijacking of the cell by its uninvited invaders is one of the coolest things in biology. Not only do these parasites leech off its food, they also ride along with the cell machinery itself — modifying parts of it for their own benefit, of course.

July 26, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
A note on paleo-protistology in Chicago

A note on paleo-protistology in Chicago

While we transition from paleontology back to protistology, let's make a short stop along the way. A stop in downtown Chicago, of all places. You know, the ideal place for finding living critters and fossils, right?

July 20, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Mystery Micrograph #03

Mystery Micrograph #03

Mystery Micrograph revival time! Y'all failed the previous one, but fear not -- there are plenty more to come! The subject of the last puzzle, shown below, is the surface of a testate amoeba -- namely, the organic test of Arcella spp.

June 20, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Squatters of the microbial world: foram-in-a-foram

Squatters of the microbial world: foram-in-a-foram

Out in nature, you may notice that critters often like to be on top of one another, or inside one another. Of course, I'm talking about endo- and ectosymbioses (inside and on the surface, respectively).

June 12, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Giardia sucks! An anatomy of a sucker.

Giardia sucks! An anatomy of a sucker.

Giardia is a cute flagellate with two nuclei, eight flowing flagella and an impressive sucker plate that makes it look rather like a catfish. Their elegant swimming patterns are reminiscent of one as well.

May 27, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Protist-y art continued: the protist zodiac

Protist-y art continued: the protist zodiac

One night, when I was definitely completely sober in every way possible (of course!), it struck me that while both the European and Chinese zodiacs (ones I'm familiar with) display a nice variety of animals with and without backbones (I happen to be spineless according to the European one, and scaly and flame-breathing according to the Chinese version), somehow the ancients have missed out on a very major and obvious group -- the protists.

May 23, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Dividing Arcella (test construction in progress)

Dividing Arcella (test construction in progress)

A quickie post to assure y'all I'm still around. Got a few proper posts coming soon! Remember our testate amoeba friends, the arcellinids? Here is a pair of Arcella s (Arcellae?) in the midst of division.

May 22, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Coffee interferes with construction efforts... if you're an amoeba

Coffee interferes with construction efforts... if you're an amoeba

Bleary-eyed and staggering, many of us partake in a morning coffee ritual before mustering the courage to face the daily workload. In addition to psychoactive chemicals (drugs, anyone?), the coffee routine provides structure and emotional support -- rumours suggest it may be largely a placebo effect, but I won't go into that debate.

May 7, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Some protist-y art

Some protist-y art

For me, the second more relaxing activity after microscopy is vector art. And then regular art. (This excludes non-activities, such as napping in the sun, and staring at life passing by.

April 30, 2013 — Psi Wavefunction
Stories by Psi Wavefunction

The Antidote to Anti-Intellectualism