BioGalleries Living Bacteria
Living Bacteria Through The Microscope
Photomicrographs by Bruce J. Russell and David Denning

Bacteria are everywhere, yet how many people have ever seen one? We eat bacteria, they are all over our skin, they help us digest food, some make us sick, and they allow our planet to survive by breaking down all of the organisms that die. They are ‘invisible’ partners and enemies - yet how well do we know them?

Most students have seen great scanning electron photographs of bacteria in a book – excellent for showing the basic rod-like form of many bacteria, but how much do these photographs really tell us about the living world of the bacteria?

In this gallery we present an array of frames of bacteria and cyanobacteria taken from our digital video files. Like any other group of organisms, bacteria exhibit an amazing diversity in form and they even show a variety of behaviours. Our gallery portrays some of the remarkable diversity of the group, but to understand bacteria behaviour, you'll need to view live action video.

Streptomyces, an elongated bacterium used in making antibiotics Fischerella - a branching filamentous cyanobacteria. It is also known as Stigonema Cylindrospermum - a filamentous cyanobacterium oftwen common in fresh water 8-micron bacterial rods, swimming up a gradient Spirilliform bacteria with flagella found in rotting carcass of a bryozoan colony 12-micron rods, from pond culture - one individual is dividing
Spirulina, a cyanobacteria - This species is cultured for a food supplement. (video shows movement) Symbiotic bacteria living inside an Amoeba. The probably provide food and metabolism for the host. 40-micron bent rods from pond culture Beggiatoa can metabolize sulfur compunds. (The refractile franules seen here are crystals of excreted sulfur) Glaucocystis - These cellls harbor cyanobacteria symbionts Rhizobium - a symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing bacterium from the root nodules of a pea
Lymgbya - A large filamentous cyanobacterium A long rod bacteria living attached to the swimming antannae of a freshwater copepod Vibrio fischeri - A light-producing (bioluminescent) bacterium Giant rod-shaped bacteria (50 microns) from a rotting plant culture Spiral (Spirilliform) bacteria with flagella at each end. (Clearly seen in our video footage) Bacillus subtilis - A rod bacterium from the soil. It produces the antibiotic, bacitracin
Dense filamentous bacteria in a pond culture, with Paramecium E. Coli - 4-micron bacteria. A common symbiont found in the digestive tracks of animals Oscillatoria - a common filamentous cyanobacteria growing as large filaments Sarcina - A non-motile aerobic bacterium Rod bacteria living attached to a strand of filamentous algae
Long rod bacteria with spores forming at one end Lactobaccilus? - these chains of bacteria make yogurt out of milk A spirochete bacterium from a pond culture A dense culture of rod-like bacteria concentrated in a culture of pond water Anabaena - a cyanobacterium When present in domestic water supplies, this species imparts a swampty taste In pond water culture - Long bacteria rods aggregating along the edge of a thick mat of smaller rods

For our popular program that examines the classification and evolution of bacteria as one of the three Domains, see our series, The Domains Of Life. We also have available an excellent overview of bacteria - BRANCHES ON THE TREE OF LIFE - VIRUSES AND BACTERIA .

Further Product Information

All our video products have colorful and revealing video previews.
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