Effect of Temperature on the Rate of Vacuole Formation in Tetrahymena thermophila

  • Kristy Ip
  • Olivia Wong
  • Hannah Xiao


Tetrahymena thermophila are protists that are primarily found in ponds near vegetated shores. T. thermophila undergo a physical transformation during feeding that involves the formation of vacuoles through phagocytosis. Since T. thermophila are involved in the freshwater ecosystem, and temperatures varies between location and season, it is is important to know whether temperature will affect T. thermophila feeding. We visualize feeding by using black watercolour that is incorporated into vacuoles while they form. We incubate T. thermophila in 3 different temperatures (13ºC, 30ºC, and 34ºC) to determine the rate of vacuole formation in temperatures under, in, and above their optimal range. We found that the rate of vacuole formation in not significantly different from each other in the different temperatures. This may be due to T. thermophila ability to correct oral abnormalities during development that may occur due to the temperature.