The Clean-up Crew in Rice Fields

By Ken W. “Creekman” Davis

Have you ever wanted two of you? How about millions exactly like you? That’s what protozoa must accomplish to clean up the bacterial decomposition in winter-flooded rice fields. The most common way to develop a bacteria-eating crew is asexual reproduction by binary fission. They simply duplicate their organelles and divide in two. In the process of eating and dividing, they are moving “energy” up and through the food web to birds and fish. Protozoa come in thousands of shapes, sizes, and use many techniques to sweep up the bacteria.

We’ll show you a few of the odd creatures in this blog over the next few weeks.

Video: Small protozoa undergoing binary fission at 400X magnification.


Ken W. “Creekman” Davis is an aquatic biologist and wildlife photojournalist with more than 30-years experience. His images have been published in more than 4000 different periodicals, newsletters, brochures, encyclopedias and websites.