Filming of zooplankton: a case study of rotifer males and Daphnia magna

  • Pierluigi Colangeli Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy.
  • Adam Cieplinski Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy.
  • Ulrike Obertegger | Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy.


Filming live organisms can give new insights into the hidden life of plankton. Accessibly priced digital cameras are now available for a large range of users. Here, we demonstrate the technical setup and workflow of using a single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera to film the behaviour of males of two rotifer species, Brachionus angularis Gosse (1851) and Keratella cochlearis Gosse (1851), and of the cladoceran Daphnia magna Straus (1820). Rotifers are cyclical parthenogens that produce males only under certain environmental conditions. Thus, knowledge on rotifer males is still limited because of their ephemeral nature and because they are often smaller than females. We filmed males of B. angularis and K. cochlearis with a DSLR camera connected to a compound microscope to better understand their morphology and behaviour in comparison to conspecific females. While written descriptions have their scientific value, seeing is complementary because everyone can verify what has been described. We made our videos publicly accessible through links connected to the paper. Our videos are, to our best knowledge, the first on males of B. angularis and K. cochlearis. Furthermore, we filmed the behavioural response of D. magna to ultraviolet (UV) radiation with a macro lens attached to the DSLR camera. Approaches like this are valuable tools in environmental teaching. To see live organisms with one’s own eyes may contribute to raising public awareness about the value of water resources and their hidden communities. In summary, filming can be a valuable tool to ignite scientific discussion, but the videos need an open-access platform where they can be referenced in a topic-related order.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ulrike Obertegger, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach
zooplankton, rotifers, statistics, biogeography, genetics, time-series analysis, functional diversity
Original Articles
Supporting Agencies
European Social Fund (P.O. FSE Abruzzo 2007-2013 - SG/RI/WE/98)
Video-microscopy, males, Lake Tovel, Brachionus angularis, Keratella cochlearis, DSLR.
Abstract views: 1787

PDF: 674
HTML: 1270
Share it

PlumX Metrics

PlumX Metrics provide insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more) in the online environment. Examples include, when research is mentioned in the news or is tweeted about. Collectively known as PlumX Metrics, these metrics are divided into five categories to help make sense of the huge amounts of data involved and to enable analysis by comparing like with like.

How to Cite
Colangeli P, Cieplinski A, Obertegger U. Filming of zooplankton: a case study of rotifer males and Daphnia magna. jlimnol [Internet]. 13Nov.2015 [cited 23Jan.2020];75(1). Available from: