Sunday, January 23, 2011
Fascinating Amoeba Farm Bacteria
Farming is often thought of as a completely human idea, though many animals actually engage in "farming behavior", however none of these species has been as tiny as the Dictyostelium discoideum slime mold.
As an example of animal farming behavior: some Damselfish actually farm their own algae and are surprisingly protective of it. They will often attempt to attack humans that disrupt their algae farms!
D. discoideum farms bacteria is a very interesting little oragnism according to BBC News:
"More than just a snack for the journey of dispersal, the idea is that the bacteria that travel with the spores can 'seed' a new bacterial colony, and thus a food source in case the new locale should be lacking in bacteria.
D. discoideum is already something of a famous creature, having proven its 'social' nature as it gathers together into a mobile, multicellular structure in which a fifth of the individuals die, to the benefit of the ones that make it into the fruiting body.
'Bacteria generally provide huge resources that are really untapped,' Ms Brock said.
'These amoebas carry bacteria that aren't just used for food, so that's what I'm looking into now.'"
The untapped power of bacteria is certainly an interesting topic, as is the unique symbiosis and initial possible evolutionary cost of farming behavior.
Read the article here: BBC New- Amoebas show primitive farming behaviour as they travel