Honors Program


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Kizghin, D. & Ryu, S. Observation and Characterization of Vorticella Convallaria's Two Swimming Modes Under Three Different Gap Heights. (2023)


Copyright Dilziba Kizghin, and Sangjin Ryu 2023.


Vorticella convallaria is a unique micro-swimmer found in freshwater habitats with two distinct swimming forms – swimming trophont and telotroch. V. convallaria swimming forms have not been studied much despite it being an ancient organism. Trophont V. convallaria physiology is comprised of cell body, or the zooid, and a cell stalk that connects the cell to surfaces for feeding. When the cell detaches from its stalk to change locations, it swims with its oral cilia around the peristome. Telotroch V. convallaria undergoes transformation by inverting and regurgitating the oral cilia, becoming a longer version of trophont with aboral cilia at the opposite end. Due to such differences, trophont cells swim via a “pull” mechanism with their oral cilia and telotroch cells swim via a “push” mechanism with their aboral cilia. Purpose of this study is to characterize the two swimming modes under three different geometric confinements – 25 µm, 51 µm, and 102 µm. Observation of V. convallaria was passive and without interference aside from culturing and harvesting. This observation was done through microscopy in Hele-Shaw configurations. Video results were processed and analyzed based on velocity. Hypothesis of this study based on previous knowledge predicts the telotroch V. convallaria to have an overall higher velocity in comparison to the trophont form and for cells to have a higher velocity under the largest gap height.