This week I received my lab’s first microscope! It is an Olympus SZX16 stereo microscope. This microscope will be used to image and quantify sinking particles collected in sediment traps. It also fits easily into a carry-on size bag so that I can safely transport it out to sea.
This microscope is coming with me on the upcoming Sea2Space cruise aboard the R/V Falkor (leaving next week!), and is part of a new research project recently funded by NSF. I received it just in time to test out its imaging capabilities with a preserved plankton net tow I collected last summer in Monterey Bay. This sample contained a type of gelatinous zooplankton called doliolids and a bloom of diatoms. I love how we can see both large and small things:
The doliolids are between 0.5 cm and 1 cm long, while the diatoms are about 0.005 cm long (or ~50 micrometers). The diatoms in this image are called Coscinodiscus.
I can’t wait to image sinking particles next month with my first microscope, and I’m already dreaming about microscope #2 for the lab.