#SlimeLapseGallery - Episode 1
Written by Chris Reid on January 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 1: A maze-ing slime mold
To start with a classic, we can’t go past this video from Toshiyuki Nakagaki’s lab and ground-breaking Nature paper of 2000. In the setup, a labyrinth maze is installed on an agar substrate by cutting the maze ‘walls’ from overhead transparency sheets. The plastic surface is dry and hence repellent to the slime mold. The slime is then made to grow throughout the entire maze surface by placing small blobs of biomass around the maze and letting them fuse. At this stage, oat-flake food sources are placed at the entry and exit to the maze, and the slime mold - which is now a single cell spanning the entire maze - seeks to engulf both food sources, while staying connected. The most efficient way to do this is to retract excess biomass from dead-ends and longer paths through the maze, eventually resulting in a single tubule which runs along only the shortest path solution. Amazing stuff for a single cell without a brain or even 2 neurons to rub together. The work won Toshi an IgNobel prize, and has inspired a new generation of slime mold ethologists. Toshi runs a lab at Hakodate’s Future University, and is a great guy to knock back a few Sake’s with.