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Journal Articles Soft Matter Year : 2024

Short-term memory effects in the phototactic behavior of microalgae

Taha Laroussi
Mojtaba Jarrahi
Gabriel Amselem

Abstract

Phototaxis, the directed motion in response to a light stimulus, is crucial for motile microorganisms that rely on photosynthesis, such as the unicellular microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It is well known that microalgae adapt to ambient light stimuli. On time scales of several dozen minutes, when stimulated long enough, the response of the microalga evolves as if the light intensity were decreasing [A. Mayer, Chlamydomonas: Adaptation phenomena in phototaxis, Nature, 1968, 217(5131), 875–876]. Here, we show experimentally that microalgae also have a short-term memory, on the time scale of a couple of minutes, which is the opposite of adaptation. At these short time scales, when stimulated consecutively, the response of C. reinhardtii evolves as if the light intensity were increasing. Our experimental results are rationalized by the introduction of a simplified model of phototaxis. Memory comes from the interplay between an internal biochemical time scale and the time scale of the stimulus; as such, these memory effects are likely to be widespread in phototactic microorganisms.
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Dates and versions

hal-04569159 , version 1 (06-05-2024)

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Taha Laroussi, Mojtaba Jarrahi, Gabriel Amselem. Short-term memory effects in the phototactic behavior of microalgae. Soft Matter, In press, ⟨10.1039/D3SM01628E⟩. ⟨hal-04569159⟩
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