Posted 2 days ago

Rhizosolenia, a microscopic diatom found in marine waters.

These diatoms perform photosynthesis at the surface. After stocking up on carbohydrates, they sink 300m below to gather nutrients. As they begin to run low on carbohydrates, they float up back to the surface. This cycle happens every 3-5 days. 

The shells of Rhizosolenia (last picture) have been known to clog up gills and kill fish (source)

Posted 6 days ago

Salt crystals under the microscope, formed by evaporating sea water

Varying conditions, such as impurities, temperature, and solute levels can result in a wide variety of shapes and sizes of these crystals. 

Posted 1 week ago

Chaetoceros and Pleurosigma

Marine diatoms

Posted 2 weeks ago

No, NASA has not declared that Pluto is a planet

Normally I don’t delve into astronomy, but there’s been a bit of confusion surrounding Pluto’s planetary status as of late. A post with 200,000+ notes has been circulating tumblr claiming that Pluto has recently been declared a planet. 


If you try to look up Pluto on Google, you’ll find these articles. First things first, if the title of an article has a question mark at the end, that means you shouldn’t automatically accept it as factual. 

Now let’s get to what actually happened. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided in 2006 that Pluto is not a planet. It is the IAU that decides the planetary status of astronomical objects (not NASA). 

Back in September of this year, the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claimed that Pluto should be labelled a planet. However, they are not in charge of whether or not Pluto is labelled a planet. The IAU is.

Long story short, Pluto’s planetary status has not changed. 

Posted 3 weeks ago
at what magnification were you viewing those unknown ocean samples? to find out whether these are more likely copepods or wacky protists
nemnems asked

I don’t really keep track of magnification, but I remember most were around the size of copepods

Posted 3 weeks ago

Experimenting with phase-contrast microscopy (sort of)

The first organism is some sort of marine crustacean. Second is brown algae (basically seaweed).

Brown algae may seem pretty boring, but it has a neat origin. It most likely arose through Secondary Endosymbiosis, in which a heterotrophic eukaryotic cell absorbed a photosynthetic eukaryote. Basically, a cell that eats other things absorbed a cell that gets its energy from sunlight. The biological processes of the two merged over time to the point where the two cells were inseparable, and the result was a new type of photosynthetic cell. 

Interestingly enough, Malaria also arose through this method, although it is not photosynthetic. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Posted 3 weeks ago

Although i didn’t find very many live microorganisms in my ocean samples, I did find these remains/exoskeletons. I have no idea what these are, though. Microscopic sea monsters, maybe. 

(No but seriously if anyone could help me identify these that would be great)

Posted 1 month ago

I used the plankton net and found some neat stuff! The first picture is some sort of egg sac found in sea water. Each sphere inside the bigger sphere is a developing embryo (not sure what animal though). 

The bottom picture is a marine copepod

Posted 1 month ago
If you don't mind, what setup are you using for photos/videos? I love your blog!
chainer asked

Thanks! I just hold up a digital camera to the microscope lens. Ideally I should have an attachment that connects the two, but I’ve never gotten around to getting one. 

In the photos/videos that have a black background, I turn off the light of the microscope and instead shine a bright LED flashlight either above or below the sample. This mimics dark-field microscopy without the need for expensive equipment. Hope this answered your question! 

Posted 1 month ago


Hey merismo, do you know what this is? Found it in a pond. There’s lots of them.

Definitely a Cosmarium!