Looking at the micro-world

How often do we get to mess around with microscopes and spy on tiny, tiny things?! Today we got the chance to do exactly that at PLACE for Sustainable Living with Damon Tighe from the California Center for Natural History and Peter Werner, Carlos Garcia, & Rui Wang from the Merritt College Microscopy Program.

We had tables full of dissecting microscopes, compound microscopes, a digital microscope, and the humble magiscope- a whole gaggle of optics to discover the wonders that exist beyond the abilities of our unaided eyes.

Taking samples from mushrooms, standing water, lichen, and even moldy dog poop (science!), we found at least a dozen types of teensy organisms like rotifers, diatoms, flatworms, crustaceans, nematodes, annelids, paramecia, ascomycetes, ciliates, and collembola. And maaaybe a sleeping tardigrade. “Tardisquatch”, if you will.

To see the iNaturalist project and some of the organisms we were able to document, click here!

Here are a few choice photos from the day:

Photos from left to right: 1) Life! We don't know if this is animal, vegetable, or something else. If you have an idea, let us know! (photo: Damon Tighe). 2) Crustacean (photo: Damon Tighe). 3) Flatworm (photo: Damon Tighe). 4) Ascomycota from dog poop (photo: Damon Tighe). 5) Collembola (photo: Constance Taylor). 6) Ascomycota from soy sauce (photo: Damon Tighe). 7) Gather 'round the digital microscope! (photo: Constance Taylor). 8) Tables of curious onlookers (photo: Constance Taylor).