Slime Moulds have gotten a lot of attention of their ability to find optimised transport maps, but what are they???
What is a Slime Mould?
First they are NOT fungi - although for a long time, they were thought to be fungi because their life cycle resemble each other.
They are protists.
What is a protist?
A single cell eukaryote!
The problem of classification of protists is described in this video, which has movies of the diverse protista in motion under the microscope.
There are 3 groups of organisms commonly called slime moulds, but they do not share a common ancestor (a clade).
- Plasmodial slime molds = giant cells, single cells with thousands of nuclei fused flagellated cells
- Cellular slime molds = mostly found as separate single-celled amoeboid protists, but can swarm with chemical signals
- Labyrinthulomycota, called slime moulds, but are not related to 1 and 2
- dictybase where you can find genomes, protocols and other resources
- A Simple Method of Growing the Plasmodial Slime Mold written for Physarum polycephalum