mikrohiker Timelapse clip of living freshwater diatoms, mostly genus Navicula with some Nitzschia forms and one huge Gyrosigma. The pennate diatoms are highly motile, showing interesting movement patterns.

The Microscopic Creature That Lives in a Glass House

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in a glass house? Striatella unipunctata, a tropical diatom often found on coral reefs, spends its entire life like this. Because their cell walls are made of silica, the main component of glass, diatoms are often called “algae that live in glass houses.” Though since the silica also contains water, “algae that live in opal houses” might be closer to the truth! (Photo: SERC Phytoplankton Lab) 

This image shows a collection of diatoms at a magnification of 200. Diatoms are aquatic, photosynthetic protists and are one of the simplest forms of phytoplankton. They are abundant in nearly every habitat where water is found – oceans, lakes, streams, mosses, soils and even the bark of trees. Nearly all diatoms are microscopic; cells range in size from about 2 microns to about 500 microns (0.5 mm), or about the width of a human hair.

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The American Museum of Natural History takes you on a tour of some of the most beautiful things you will only see if you have access to a microscope - the shells of microfossils, how they are made and how they are used.


From Drifter to Dynamo: The Story of Plankton

Most plankton are tiny drifters, wandering in a vast ocean. But where wind and currents converge they become part of a grander story… an explosion of vitality that affects all life on Earth, including our own. Watch the latest “Deep Look” video from KQED and pbsdigitalstudios:


Here’s a slightly old photo of Mako from my last shoot, to hold you guys over until I’m back in SoCal and can get some more pics together! Currently home on the east coast for the holiday, but I have a friend checking in on my cats, the fish, and my newest addition - a budgie. Found on the streets of LA. Story and photos to come on that….


Navicula pendant lamp by David Trubridge

The Navicula pendant lamp is another nature inspired design by the New Zealand based designer, David Trubridge. The lamp, that just recently got recommended for the Darc Award 2017, is inspired by the many microscopic diatoms that float in the ocean. It is illuminated by a row of LED pin point lights at the inside of the skeleton, that is made of CNC cut Bamboo-Plywood.

CO2, but from where?

Geologists have many records that tell the story of the last glacial maximum, the time between about 20,000 and 15,000 years ago when the glaciers of the last ice age reached their peak size and started to retreat. Ice cores, sediment cores, records of plants, soil, wind-blown loess deposits, ice-rafted debris in the ocean, etc. One story told over and over is that CO2 in the atmosphere went up significantly, from about 180 ppm to 280 ppm (for comparison, we’re currently very close to 400 ppm). That CO2 pulse into the atmosphere warmed the planet and created a runaway process that melted the glaciers.

One big question has always remained though; where did this CO2 come from? We know where the CO2 pulse today is coming from; fossil fuels, but 15,000 years ago there were no coal plants.

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