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The Ocelloid

The Ocelloid


Through the eye of a microbe
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Some sights about the microbial world

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Back! Well, trying to — long story short, life got in the way of blogging for a while there, but of course I still really miss it. Won’t bore y’all with details (for now). At odd hours of the night I’ve hijacked the lab scope for, ahem, totally not personal use, and accumulated a few thousand more images than I’d really care to have to deal with — and they do like to see the light of day somehow. So I’ll dump them here in various batches until my writing muse/spirit/ghost/gnome/whatever squeezes some long article out of me. This batch will be thoroughly random and devoid of any system — mostly just glimpses of the microbial world, which was a fancy way of saying “they looked kinda pretty on my screen”. So, I hope you enjoy! There are plenty more for later…

(click on the images to view in full size and resolution)
 

A colourful assemblage of life from a summertime sewage treatment pond in Indiana. On the left is a blob of cyanobacteria, to the right of it is a green alga Scenedesmus, and below it appears to be a cyst of some green algal thing. The microbial world can be quite vibrant in colour, especially when photosynthesis is involved. 100x obj, DIC

Surface of a marine nematode from North Carolina beach sand. Strictly speaking, not in the microbial world, but still part of their environment as a microhabitat of its own (especially after death). 40x obj, DIC

View of the edge of a pennate diatom frustule (‘shell’). This view makes it look kind of glassy, I think, which makes sense given it’s made of silica. 100x obj, DIC

Cellulose fibre texture visible in the cell wall of the empty Spirogyra cell to the right. To the left is a live cell with a prominent helical plastid. The organised round structures along the plastid are pyrenoids with associated starch granules. Lake Monroe, IN; 100x obj, DIC

Bacterial flagella visible (arrowhead) in this rather large (for a prokaryote) specimen from a sewage treatment pond. Bacterial flagella are usually quite hard to see, so these giants were a lucky find. In the leftmost frame (optical section just beneath the glass coverslip) lie more normally-sized bacteria. 100x obj, DIC

Cyanobacterial filament from a puddle in a boggy area near Å i Lofoten, Norway. (Arctic bacteria!) 100x obj, DIC

A pair of diatoms from an alpine pond north of Vancouver, BC. Appear to have a gelatinous sheath around them of some sort. The big refractile blobs are lipid granules for storage.

That’s all for today’s image dump; trying to decide whether to show you some close ups of ciliates, collections of critters found in fun locations like North Carolinean pocosins and the Norwegian arctic, general assortment of really weird critters, views inside cells, or something else entirely… thoughts?

Psi Wavefunction About the Author: Psi Wavefunction is a graduate of the University of British Columbia working as a protist researcher (soon to be graduate student) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and blogs about protists and evolution at The Ocelloid as well as at Skeptic Wonder. Follow on Twitter @Ocelloid.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Glendon Mellow 9:28 pm 10/26/2012

    Every one of these is amazing.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Psi Wavefunction in reply to Psi Wavefunction 2:36 pm 10/27/2012

    Thank you! Helps to have a good scope available for abuse…

    Link to this

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