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......