Skip Navigation

Observing Different Microbes

Author(s): Barbara Tharp, MS, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

EXTENSION: Microscopic Pond Life

Pond water derives its greenish color from the numerous photosynthetic organisms it contains. When students observe pond water under the microscope, they may see examples of several different groups of organisms: protozoans (animal-like, single-celled organisms once included within the Kingdom Protista); algae (single-celled or multicellular plant-like organisms); and small invertebrate animals. The following examples are shown in this slide.

  • Euglena - Single-celled member of the protozoan group; photosynthetic, but also can engulf prey; single-celled; single, long flagellum [hair] for movement.
  • Hydra - Invertebrate animal related to jelly fish; its green color comes from single-celled algae that live in the lining of its digestive cavity.
  • Spirogyra - Filamentous, multi-cellular green alga (relative of green land plants).
  • Daphnia (water flea) - Invertebrate animal related to crayfish and lobsters (crustaceans); important component of the aquatic food chain.

Encourage students to use web resources, such as the Pond Life Identification Kit at the URL below, to identify organisms in pond water.

Pond Life Identification Kit

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605