DIY Bio Postcards, Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates, oh my!

A few weekends ago, I met up with Rachel to try to split some dinoflagellate cultures.  These particular dinoflagellates were p. lunula, and p. noctiluca, which both bioluminesce when mechanically stressed (shaken, tapped, dropped) or when the pH of their media is lowered (by adding acid).  They are absolutely fascinating creatures, and beautiful to boot.  Also, they don’t smell bad, like vibrio fischeri, and they are WAY brighter, although the illumination is not constant.  Another difference between the bioluminescence of the two is that you can actually see the individual algae light up.  With the bacteria, its a large smear that glows.

The little speck in the middle is P. lunula

Unfortunately, we left the f2 media in the -20 freezer (which I leaned is normal freezer temp) while we autoclaved the synthetic seawater (SSW) that we made with “instant ocean” mix from a pet store.  This ended the project for the week, because everyone was pretty tired, and nobody wanted to wait 3-4 hours for the media to thaw.  We got a “good effort” sticker in the notebook that day…

The next week we successfully made the transfer.  The 50x f2 was diluted to 1X in SSW, and two ~500ml cultures were made by mixing the old into the new, and then aliquoting some into smaller containers, some of which stayed at sprout, some of which I think went home with Rachel, and some of which are at BOSSLAB.


If you haven’t heard about the DIYBIO postcard, go here and sign up.  Check out those sweet transformants on the example card (I wonder where those came from)!  It’s free, you will get a sweet postcard, and get some short blurbs about what is going on in DIYBIO.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s