Microbiology Video Collection

This database contains short video clips of living protists, mostly free-living ciliates, that have been handled in our Microbiology laboratories (Department of Zoology) in recent years. Note that not all these clips are of protistan taxa, but they all contain protists, often as epicommensals. The collection consists of about 1,500 clips, indexed by genus. In most cases the taxa are identified to species level, but there are several that could only be identified to genus (designated 'sp.') and there are some 62 clips labelled 'unknown'. We would welcome the advice of anyone that can put a name to these organisms or finds any errors in the database.

Each video clip shows a reference in its play window. Please use that reference in any correspondence about the clip. Where they are available, the vernacular name of the group to which the protist belongs is shown together with its phylum and date of recording. The originating database contains further information about the clip, including microscopy details and origin of material where available, and can be accessed at the Museum (see below).

These clips are in Quicktime format and you will have to have Quicktime installed on your machine to be able to view them. The software is free and accessible from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/. The resolution of these clips has been reduced to allow reasonable download speeds and real-time playback on most machines.


The Natural History Museum retains copyright on these files, but hereby grants permission that they may be copied and used for any non-commercial purpose on condition that appropriate credit is given to the originator. The original video clips form part of the Museum's collection: they are much higher resolution, so are very large, and require specialist hardware for real-time playback. These original files can be viewed at the Museum by appointment. Commercial applications (ie any application for which a charge is made) can negotiate a licence with the Museum for use of these clips, at either high or low resolution.


The names used were current at the time of application, but we have not sought to keep the nomenclature up to date and we would welcome suggestions for nomenclatural correction. Please contact the Microbiology Department .

If you require more extensive search facilities or wish to examine the video clips or documentation, you are welcome to visit the Museum by appointment (please contact the Microbiology Department ). Although the Museum itself is unable to offer financial assistance for such visits, funding is occasionally available, for example the EU can provide support for short-term study visits to European researchers. Although the Museum operates a loan scheme for much of its holdings, the specialised nature of the playback equipment makes that impractical for these clips.