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Microscopic Life

While researching Laurel Lake, water samples were taken to observe what types ofmicroorganisms live in the water of the lake. Students have been instructed on the proper handling of microscopes and specimens in science classes.

Several type of microorganisms live in Laurel Lake. Fish,reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and insects feed off microorganisms.

It is beneficial in any exercise relating to life sciences to observemicroscopic life in lake water and to attempt to identify these microorganisms.

This is no easy task and will require the use of a good microscope and several attempts toproperly identify some of the microorganisms that live in the lake water.

These are some of the microorganisms that live in Laurel Lake that weidentified:
Parameciums, Amoebas, Euglenas, Planaria, Copepods, Spirogyra, and Vorticella.


The paramecium is a tiny one-celled animal that is difficult to see without a microscope.Parameciums are actually protozoans.

Since this animal is actually a cell, it is made up of protoplasm. There are 2 nuclei inside theparamecium.

The paramecium has a definite shape like a shoe. It has hair-like projections called cilia. This organism swims by rapidly beating the cillia.

Parameciums reproduce by dividing in two across the center. The nuclei divide. A new organism isformed.


The amoeba is a tiny one-celled animal. Only one cell makes up the amoeba's entire body. Amoebas live in water and soil. Some live in human beings.

The amoeba is made of protoplasm. It moves by changing its body shape. Athin, elastic membrane encloses the protoplasm. The protoplasm pushes out the elastic membrane to forma pseudopod.

Amoebas eat other one-celled animals and tiny plants such as bacteria. They totally devourfood by gradually wrapping pseudopods around an object.

Amoebas have a contractile vacuole to collect material inside the cell.

Amoebas reproduce by fission. The nucleus divides first. After this, the rest of the cell divides.This results in 2 amoebas called daughter cells.


Euglenas are microorganisms which scientists classify as both plant and animal.

Euglenas live in freshwater and often appear as green scum on the water's surface.

Euglenas have spindle-shaped bodies. Most euglenas are green because they containchlorophyll.

Euglena move by using flagellum, a whip-like structure that sticks out from their bodies.

These organisms reproduce very rapidly.


Planaria is a small flatworm that lives in Laurel Lake, other bodies of water, and in soil.Its soft body only reaches a length of 1/2 inch.

Planaria can regenerate missing body parts.

This worm feeds on other small microscopic life forms and deadplant and animal material. They can react to light, although they don't have true eyes.


The copepod is a microscopic crustacean. It lives in Laurel Lake.

The copepod has antennae containing receptors. The copepod is sensitive to its environment. Copepods drift toward the water's surface. They may be classified asplankton and serve as a food source for fish.


Many kinds of green algae can be found in Laurel Lake. Green algae belong to the phylaChlorophyta. Many of these species of green algae form long chains of cells. These chains or filaments are referred to as filamentous green algae.

Under a microscope, you can see the spiral-shaped chloroplasts. These are spirogyra. Like otheralgae, spirogyra can make its own food through a process called photosynthesis.


Vorticella are ciliate protozoans found in Laurel Lake.Vorticella are microorganisms that are bell-shaped.

Vorticella eat bacteria and other protozoans.