By changing its fluid shape, this microbe slides along surfaces underwater and in moist soil. A portion of the cell membrane reaches out and the cell contents (cytoplasm) flow into the pseudopod, or false foot. It can change or redirect its motion at any moment. Visitors spin a unique animation tool to watch the process in actions.
The beautiful shapes at this exhibit are the shells of diatoms, single-celled plants that live in the ocean and fresh water. Diatoms come in hundreds of shapes. Nine different kinds have been arranged here in a snowflake pattern by an artist, Klaus Kemp and can be viewed through a Wentzscope©.
Euglena is unique in that it utilizes a structure which is commonly described as a whip. It uses this whip for locomotion. By beating its flagella, a hair-like whip, this microbe swims in ponds everywhere. Visitors spin a unique animation tool to watch the process in action.
Visitors can compare the growth of bacteria on four petri dishes touched by a person's hand and allowed to grow for varying lengths of time. One petri dish is kept sterile (not touched) and is used as a control comparison for the experimental petri dishes. The bacteria growing on the petri dishes are seen in colonies (millions of bacteria in each) and appear as dots or small circles. Each colony started with a single bacterium that came from the hand that touched the petri dish.
At this exhibit a large model of a cell from inside your nose is represented in the shape of a nose. Oval, square, circular and triangular shaped blocks on the nose cell model represent cell receptor sites. There is also an accompanying model of a virus that interlocks only with the circular receptor sites. When the virus interlocks with one of the circular receptor sites a sneeze, cough or sniffle can be heard representing viral infection of the cell. The virus will not interlock with any other shaped receptor sites indicating that a virus can only enter a cell that has receptor sites specific to that virus. Additionally, two of the circular receptor sites are blocked to the virus by a metal ring. This represents medicine that could block receptor sites and prevent viral infection.
By beating the small hair-like structures on its surface called cilia, this microbe swims in ponds everywhere. Visitors spin a unique animation tool to watch the process in actions.