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Observing Different Microbes

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

Let's Talk About Paramecia

Paramecia (sing. Paramecium) are single-celled eukaryotes (their cells contain membrane-enclosed nuclei and organelles) that use cilia (hair-like appendages; sing. cilium) for movement and feeding. Paramecia are much larger than bacteria or yeast, and measure from about 50 to 350µ in length, depending on the species. They feed on bacteria and other small cells. When observing with a microscope, students will notice the paramecium's characteristic "slipper shape." At a magnification of 400x, the nucleus usually is visible and the movement of the cilia on the surface of the organism can be observed.

Within the Five Kingdom system of classification, paramecia are included in the very diverse Kingdom Protista. Other, more recent classifications divide the Protista into a number of more clearly defined Kingdoms and subgroups-all within the Domain Eukarya. Members of the Domain Eukarya all have specialized internal structures, such as an envelope around the cell nucleus (which contains genetic material), an endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria.

Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: 5R25RR018605