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I have just taken some images with my light microscope at 400x of (what I think is) some form of filamentous algae from a local pond.

Now, I think I am looking at a single cell (centre) with some sort of arrangement of chloroplasts. Is this correct? Can anyone give me some more information on these structures?

I also have included a higher-constrast image of the specimen.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ beautiful micrographs! the chloroplast(s) look filamentous. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ thanks @shigeta. I currently don't have a camera attachment so I had to hold my SLR up against the eyepiece! $\endgroup$
    – Poshpaws
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Everything of our "common world" looks absolutely different when we look through a microscope :) try versatile materials like dusts, talcum powder, paper, section of foam-dishes, etc etc. beside biological things like fish scales, insects etc. $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 12:32

3 Answers 3

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It looks indeed like a Spirogyra, or at least a member of the Zygnematales. And yes, the green things are the chloroplasts (or one long chloroplast?), and they are arranged in spiral.

The "empty" space in the middle is likely the nucleus, and the darker circles within the chloroplast(s) could be the starch accumulated at the periphery of pyrenoids.

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  • $\begingroup$ one long chloroplast? to my eye it looks 4 and that is quite clear from the photograph. $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 12:30
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Almost certainly it is a filament of Spirogyra sp.

outline Cell at center outlined. Thick black line indicates chloroplast. Dotted black line is portion of chloroplasts shielded (hidden) by some other portion of chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are helical (spring-like). Some of the pyrenoids (nearmost to eye, not shielded) marked with blue ring. Other pyrenoids not shown to avoid complication. The grey bubble-like thing outlined and dotted with red, may be the nucleus (nucleus is usually difficult to see when not stained). Cell wall marked with brown. Septum between 2 successive cells, seems to be plain septum.

Number of chloroplast in Spirogyra depends upon species. The number can range from 1 to 15* or 16. In the cell at center, There are 4 chloroplast being seen.

Reference (*)

Algae /B.R. Vashista, A.K. Sinha, V.P. Singh/ S. Chand Publication / 2-colour revised edition.

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Spirogyra. Apologies for the terse answer, but I think it does qualify.

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    $\begingroup$ also the name of a pop-jazz band of the 80s. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ ...and a 70s UK prog rock band before that! $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ ha no that's the one - i'm only remembering it from my uncles record collection, not from personal experience. it was so progressive it didnt' sound like rock to me! $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ Further research reveals that they are now classed as " acid folk" which, as far as I recall, didn't exist as a genre back then. That's probably what confused you. $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ pond slime to 70's rock - i love it. $\endgroup$
    – Poshpaws
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 21:42

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