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Slime Mold Development: Video

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Description This video is composed of a sequence of time lapse films created by John Tyler Bonner in the 1940s to show the life cycle of the cellular slime mold, Dictyostelium discoideum. As only the second person to study slime molds, Bonner frequently encountered audiences who had never heard of, let alone seen, the unusual organism. He therefore decided to create a film to present at seminars in order to introduce his object of study. Bonner created the video for his senior thesis at Harvard University with the help of photographer Frank Smith. Bonner began to work at Princeton University in 1947, thus the mention of that university on the title screen of the film. It was digitized and narrated by developmental biologist Rachel Fink of Mount Holyoke College. Includes (approximate starting times given): Amoebae [00:02]; Aggregation [00:27]; Migrating Pseudoplasmodia [02:16]; Culmination [03:28]; Trisected Pseudoplasmodium [04:17].
Type of Resource Short Movies
Format Web Page - HTML
John Bonner, PRINCETON
Development Date November 28, 2011
Grade/Age Levels Middle School (Grades 6-8)
High School lower division (Grades 9-10)
High School upper division (Grades 11-12)
Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
General Public
National Science
Educational Standards
Behavior of organisms (9-12), Diversity and adaptations of organisms (5-8), Structure and function in living systems (5-8)
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Cultural Aspect Historical (specific eras)
Type of Review Reviewed By Staff
Review Date November 28, 2011
Funding Sources National Science Foundation, Other , Arizona State University, Center for Biology and Society, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and the MBL WHOI Library, Harvard University, Mt. Holyoke College.
Suggested Use
I have introduced both high school and college microbiology students to slime mold study. We follow the life cycle and behavior. High school students create their own experiments to conduct. This is an excellent film to show behaviors the students can then relate to drawings of the life cycle. —Linda Litteral
Linda Litteral, AKP

This is so cool! The individual, single cell protists (no longer grouped with fungi, although still called mold) congregate when food is scarce to form a multicellular organism that differentiates and produces a fruiting body that it hoists into the air so the spores can drift off, where some might encounter more food. Biology at its best.
Diana Darnell, U of Arizona


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