by Mol Smith July. 2014



After looking back over some of our first articles on Micscape, specifically - this one: I realise how limited our abilities were back then in 1997 to show videos on the web.

Ken Jones of the Quekett Microscopy Club, had given me one of his excellent videos to use on our site. I still have that video. It was made before the time of digital cameras and HD Video cameras. I thought it might be interesting to revisit this video and display it now with our modern tools.

Rather than throw it all on here in one massive blow, I thought it best to work through it and separate it into various topics. This, then is the first. The video is about pond life and this first one is on Volvox.

Algae are simple plant organisms found in all wet environments. They range in size from microscopic forms to the simple macroscopic forms of  'pondweeds', and the large seaweeds. All are interesting to study but microscopists generally agree that one of the most beautiful to behold is Volvox. These are spherical colonies of green cells clinging to a semi-transparent hollow ball of mucilage. A single colony may consist of over 500 cells, each one with a tiny pair of whip-like tails (flagella) - and all cells undulating their flagella in unison,  propelling the colony through the water.     


Very large colonies can exceed 1 mm in diameter and are easily visible to the naked eye. Many will be found to contain daughter cells, and sometime even grand-daughter cells in various stages of development, within the hollow interior of the globe. In the example above, a rotifer has moved inside the volvox colony and is consuming the individual cells of the colony.


Ken Jones, a leading amateur microscopist, specialises in video-filming  pond-life. One of his videos captures the enigmatic and graceful movement of Volvox, and he has kindly allowed us to show some extracts from his film on this page. The video is in .mp4 format and is about 28 meg/bytes. Ken's wife dictates the dialogue and I think it is a wonderful amateur microscopy contribution from the last century. I think Ken was one of a handful of people who inspired me to create Microscopy UK and to co-found Micscape Magazine.

Download or view the video here!

(28 megs! Give it time to load!)





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