Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Ocean's Holiday Tree Ornaments! Stunning Scanning Electron Microscope Pictures of PLANKTON!

Radiolarians! A colored SEM image. Photo by John Cravens
Happy Holidays! Who loves a Christmas tree decoration? And has broken one in their lifetime?
Vintage Christmas ornaments
Well, in the real world, we get to see LIVING glass (or sometimes chalk) boxes that might pass for ornaments! But you need to shoot electrons at them to get something like a similar effect! Scanning Electron Microscopes are the gift that keeps on giving!

Here is a diatom called (appropriately) Skeletonema. This one occurs in Florida waters..Image by FWC-Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
Skeletonema (scanning electron micrograph)
Another FWC diatom fr. Florida called Odontella aurita. More on its biology here.
Odontella aurita (scanning electron micrograph)
The following are SEM images of foraminifera (shelled amoebas) taken by the National Museum of Wales..
foram shell
Tubulogenerina narghilella.
Image: Ian McMillan, Cardiff University.
foram shell
Another foraminifera: Halkyardia minima. Image by Ian McMillan, Cardiff University.
You know what people like?  COCCOLITHOPHORES!!  These are algae which have calcium carbonate (i.e. chalk) skeletons which under the surreal view of an SEM appear like this...
Coccolithophores  scanning electron microscope of Emiliania huxleyi coccospheres and loose coccoliths from a bloom in the South Atlantic.
Image by Sea Surface OA cruises.
Scanning electron microscope of Emiliania huxleyi: coccospheres and loose coccoliths from a bloom in the South Atlantic. 
Cretaceous coccolithophores!
Image by Jessica Matheson
Here's a nice conglomerate of Umbilicosphaera sibogae from the folks at Zeiss microscopy!

Happy Holidays! Echinoblog is off next week ! 
(thanks to Chris Taylor and Rhi L. for corrections!)

1 comment:

Christopher Taylor said...

I recognise the first of your unidentified images: it's a silicoflagellate, Dictyocha or something close to it. The second: I know I've seen it before, I know that it's a dinoflagellate, but I can't for the life of me remember which one.