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A Guide to Pond Water Microorganisms

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Microorganisms are organisms that are unicellular. They are very tiny and easily carried about by wind or water so that they are found anywhere in the world. Microorganisms are important to study because of their health implications on man. Identifying and isolating them are critical steps to take in preventing their harmful effects.

ALGAE

Algae contain chlorophyll to enable them produce their own food. While some readily classify it as plants because of the presence of chlorophyll, others prefer calling them protists. Algae exist as unicellular organisms and as colonies (an example is volvox). Since they live mostly in water, they do not have any need for tissues that aid in water transportation. Algae that produce their own food are called autotrophs. Algae also have different kinds of pigments such as phycocyanin and carotenes that are responsible for their differences in color.

  • What are algae? These are very common organisms that are photosynthetic. They can be single celled and multicellular.
  • Algae cells- Algae are classified under the kingdom Protista because they do not have very developed cells to be classified under the Kingdom Plantae.
  • Ponds and lakes- In several ponds and lakes, it is very common to find algae. Algae serve as food to aquatic animals. 
  • Protists with chloroplasts- Algae belong to the Kingdom Protista although they have chloroplasts that enable photosynthesize. They are further classified according to the color of plastids, presence of flagella and more.
  •  Introduction to Algae- This site offers basic introduction on the full scope of algae for high school students.
  • Identification of fresh water algae- Algae can only be studied with microscopes because of their small sizes.

BACTERIA

Bacteria are also unicellular organisms and they live as autotrophs or parasites. The autotrophs have chlorophylls that enable them photosynthesize while the parasites live in man and other animals to cause havoc in their systems. Again, while some bacteria require oxygen to live (aerobes), others do not need oxygen for their survival (anaerobes). Bacteria are easily carried about by water and air so they are very common on clothes, shoes and even on the hands. Their adults have flagella that make them mobile by themselves.

Bacteria can be identified by using any of these methods: gram stain, respiration and their shape. Identification by gram classifies them as either gram positive or gram negative.

  • What are bacteria?- Bacteria are single celled organisms that can produce their own food because of the presence of chlorophyll.
  • Bacteria definition- Bacteria are neither classified as plants nor animals.
  • Bacteria Meningitis- Bacteria Meningitis is caused by the bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b. The bacterium lives in people’s mouth and throat.
  • Types of bacteria- There are different kinds of bacteria. Some of them are: Salmonella, E-coli and Listeria.
  • Importance of bacteria- Bacteria is important for Nitrogen fixation into the soil. It also helps to release oxygen to the atmosphere. 
  • How to identify bacteria- The site is a practical experiment on how to identify different species of bacteria using plates and stains.

HYDRA

Hydra is one of the organisms that are placed under the phylum Coelenterata and the class- Hydrozoa. Hydra is mostly found in large water bodies such as oceans and ponds. An example of hydra is the jelly fish.

Hydra is about 5mm long and possesses about 100,000 cells. The body of hydra is divided into two layers. They feed by using their stinging tentacles to grab their prey. Hydra that is green in color often has algae in them that share a symbiotic relationship.

  • Hydra- Hydra lives in fresh water. They have stinging tentacles and radially symmetrical body.
  •  Facts about hydra- Hydra belongs to the phylum Coelenterata. It measures about 5mm long.
  • Hydra- The hydroidea- Hydra belongs to the order called the Hydroidea. It can be found in ponds and the duckweed jungle where it is a big killer.
  • Structure of the Hydra: Observations through microscopes have revealed that hydra has so many structures such as the mesogloea and ectoderm.
  • Species of Hydra: Hydra has so many species such as Hydra Americana and Hydra Canadensis.
  • Hydra in Britain- Hydra species in Britain can be characterized by their colors. There are four major species in Britain.  
  • Identifying hydra in microscope- The site explains how to identify hydra for analysis.

PROTOZOA

Protozoa are unicellular organisms that have nuclei on their cells. They behave like algae, water molds, slime molds and animals. Their animal features include mobility and heterotrophy. Protozoa measures about 0.03mm in size. As a result, it is only visible through the microscope.  

  • All about Protozoa- This site explains the metabolism, morphology and other important facts about Protozoa. 
  • Learning Protozoa- Protozoa is a vast subject to learn. However, this site makes it really comprehensive for its study.
  • Examples of Protozoan parasites- Some protozoan parasites include Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia. It is important to know their breeding places so that one can be cautious.
  • Characteristics of Protozoa- Knowing the mode of reproduction of protozoa is important. The site tries to explain this phenomenon as well as other interesting characteristics.
  • Medically important Protozoa- Protozoa is useful in the medical industries. There are some that cause health problems so they should be checked.    
  • Paramecium as a Protozoan- Paramecium is the most studied protozoan because of its importance to man.  

ROTIFERA

Animals that belong to the phylum- rotifera are found abundantly in fresh water. They are very small in nature. There are three classes of rotifers namely: the class Seisonidea, the class Bdelloidea and the class Monogononta. Rotifers feed on planktons such as algae, bacteria and detritus. While some feed on planktons, others are just carnivorous. Rotifers reproduce by parthenogenesis because of the abundant existence of the females. The male rotifers do not live as long as the females. Their major role in fertilization is to fertilize the female eggs.

  • Introduction to the Rotifera- Rotifers are very small in size, multicellular and have special organs for digestion.
  • How to identify rotifers- There are more than 2000 species of rotifers in existence. They are small in nature and can be examined only with a compound microscope at 40-100X  
  • About Rotifers - Rotifers are animals found in rivers, lakes and other water bodies.
  • Characteristics of rotifers- Rotifers are sack shaped and between 0.1 and 1 mm long.
  •  Learn rotifers- There are interesting points to learn about rotifers on this site.
  •  How to collect and preserve rotifers- The wheel animals called rotifers have several classes and orders. It is important to know how to get their samples to enable laboratory work on them. 

The small size of microorganisms makes it difficult to be seen with the naked eye. As a result, only microscopes with high magnifications are highly recommended. Microorganisms should first be cultured to the required size and nature so that their effects at various stages in their lives can be understood.

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