The Biology Classics: Paramecium, Hydra, Planaria, and Daphnia

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Grades 6 and up:
This program introduces students to four organisms we call The Biology Classics. Featured in most biology textbooks, these classics broaden our concept of what it means to be alive.

Paramecium: Observations show how Paramecium moves, feeds, digests, assimilates nutrients, achieves water balance, deploys defensive weapons, reproduces, and engages in the sexual exchange of genetic material. The narrated observations utilize state-of-the-art microscopy-techniques to present a compelling new picture of Paramecium’s life.

Hydra: Observations of Hydra show feeding behavior, detailed microscopy of stinging cells used in captur- ing prey, two digestive processes (cellular and extracellular), locomotion, reproduction by budding, development of sex organs, and symbiotic guests, both external and internal.

Planaria: The cross-eyed flatworm, Planaria, is both scavenger and predator depending upon opportunity. Observations show food-seeking behavior, the flatworm’s feeding method, locomotion (produced by a carpet of cilia), internal anatomy, and reproduction through the remarkable process of regeneration.

Daphnia: Daphnia is a classic study in arthropod behavior and anatomy. In living subjects we examine: eye, brain, jaws, intestine, swimming legs with gills, its beating heart, and two kinds of eggs – those that hatch directly into female daphnia, and resistant eggs that carry the species through periods of freezing and drying.

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