Microscopy

A whole           in a drop.

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Any still or slow moving water can provide rich pickings for the microscopist. Various forms of algae are likely to be present such as the filamentous and very pretty Spirogyra or single celled varieties such as Closterium. In general algae is classified according to how it looks e.g. colour (green, blue-green, brown etc), the arrangenemt of cells (filamentous, single, colonies), motile/non-motile (swimming or non-swimming). Diatoms are a form of  single celled brown algae that makes a shell out of silica.

 

Microscopic animals called Protozoa may also be found, Vorticella is one particularly interesting example. For its size (0.3mm full extension) it is one of the fastest movers on the planet. Anchored by a thin filament at the rear, the animal swims out using tiny cilia around its mouth, on finding a food particle the mouth shuts and the anchoring filament contracts into a coil, dragging the animal back to its base at incredible speed.

 

As well as the above you are likely to find a multitude of other free swimming aquatic life such as Rotifers, Worms, Larvae and Crustaceans - a whole new world awaits you......

 

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Aglae, Diatoms and Protozoa

Garden Exploration

 

 Top Left : Single Closterium alga amongst Spirogyra.                                       Top Right : Single Diatom

 

 Bottom Left : Vorticella Feeding Animation.                                                      Bottom Right : Anabaena algae