Bräucker R (1994) Behavioural changes of Paramecium and Didinium exposed to short-term microgravity


The swimming behaviour of two ciliate species, Paramecium caudatum and Didinium nasutum was analyzed under microgravity and hypergravity. In Paramecium the differences between former upward and downward swimming rates disappeared under weightlessness. At microgravity the swimming rates equalled those of horizontally swimming cells at 1g. In contrast, the swimming rates of Didinium increased under microgravity conditions, being larger than horizontal swimming rates at 1g. These findings are in accordance with a hypothesis of gravireception in ciliates based on electrophysiological data, which considers the different topology of mechanoreceptor channels in theses species. The hypothesis received further support by data recorded under hypergravity conditions.