#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 3
Written by Chris Reid on March 2, 2015
If you’ve ever watched a slime mold move, you have more patience (and spare time) than I do. If you prefer ‘real action’ over ‘real time’, then #SlimeLapseGallery is the place for you. Brought to you by the SwarmLab, see all the best timelapse videos of slime mold, from the web and from our lab.
Episode 3: The inner life of the slime mold
Today’s #SlimeLapseGallery features a recent compilation of Physarum timelapse microscopy that I hadn’t seen before, highlighting several features of slime mold behavior, as well as the beauty of the organism itself. The vegetative state of Physarum polycephalum (known as a plasmodium) is composed of many smaller oscillating units. Each unit oscillates at a frequency dependent upon both the local environment and its interactions with neighboring oscillators. When the slime mold senses attractants such as food, the oscillation frequency in the area closest to the food increases, causing cytoplasm to flow toward the attractant. The opposite is true of repellents. The collective behavior of the oscillators, each passing on information to entrain its neighbors, drives the organism’s locomotion, and allows the slime mold to be modeled as a coupled-oscillator system. This video by Anna Sagatov highlights the oscillation pattern of the slime mold, especially where you can see the organism has ingested fluorescent-labelled beads that zip around in the cytoplasm, allowing us to visualize the back-and-forth flow of information and nutrients within the organism.