I am such a science geek!

My folks came for a visit from Maine a couple of weeks ago. Since I am taking zoology, and we have looked at all freshwater specimens, I asked them to bring along some saltwater samples to compare them.  The pond water from campus had plenty of Protozoa, but we weren’t sure what we would find in the saltwater. There weren’t too many in the sample, so Doc (the most awesome college professor, ever!) suggested we culture them for a week or two. We looked at them a couple of days ago, and took some pictures of them with a digital microscope yesterday. I took most of the photos at 1000 power, with an oil immersion lens (remember …. science geek), and we found some different really cool Protozoa in the saltwater! They form silica or calcium spines that they use for movement. Here’s one:

Saltwater microorganism-radiolaria?

Isn’t it cool? This doesn’t begin to do them justice – they are really quite beautiful, and incredibly fun to watch under the microscope. There were also some that had cilia all around the outside of the cell: they are hard to capture on film, but you can see them if you look closely:

Ciliated and foraminiferan

Ciliated and foraminiferan

The two nearer the top are ciliated, and we think the blobby looking thing at the bottom is a foraminiferan, which has a shell-like area at the top, with pseudopods it sends out to move (the long, thin areas)

We also found some more ameboid forms that just blobbed around:

Saltwater ameba

I sat and watched a couple of these move around for quite awhile. There was also a single flagellated one which hung out near the amebas. The single flagella meant that it moved in circles a lot:

Flagellated protozoanIt’s not too clear here, but the flagellated one is on the bottom left. Sooooo cool!

Just ask Bill Nye: science rules!

On another entirely geeky note, in this same class we bred African clawed frogs in order to observe their life cycle. We ended up with about 100 tadpoles, and we each got to keep some. I have two, or maybe three at the end of the semester. They’re still a couple of weeks from becoming frogs, and the survival rate is iffy. But, they need aeration on a regular basis, as well as clean water. And, they need plenty of space when they become frogs. I had a choice between buying a small tank with all the supplies which I would have to replace when the frogs get bigger, or buying a larger tank so it’s ready for them. I bought a larger tank and all the supplies: about $75!! Yikes!!! Those tadpoles damn well better become frogs …. My rationale right now is that I’ll be able to have them in my classroom, and it’s pretty awesome to be able to say I raised them from tadpoles. Teeny tiny tadpoles – even at a couple of weeks, they are only about an inch long. The boys like watching them, too.

I love science. 🙂

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