jtotheizzoe (one of my favorite tumblr reads) made a call out for people with science-y desktops. This is always me! The current one is a type slide of Chalk Pond, Maine. I nabbed it from Bill Dailey, a self-proclaimed diatomite enthusiast. He writes:
Many of the freshwater ponds along the coast of Maine have bogs which are made up of diatomite. Diatomite from Chalk Pond was once mined commercially. However there is still material available. The cleaned material has a number of HUGE pinnularia forms and is similar to the “Cherryfield, Maine” material of the old diatomists.
I love finding abstract aesthetics in my research and diatom slides never fail to be a brilliant example of the beauty in nature. Love you, science.
Went down to the river (Kaw/Kansas River) today and grabbed a sample that consisted mostly of a rock covered in slippery algae. I was kind of amazed to see it under the microscope - there was so much activity and diversity.
What you’re looking at here are mostly diatoms, which are unicellular photoplankton and are considered algae. Colonies of them typically look like brown, slippery slime on rocks and sticks in stream waters. An interesting feature of diatoms is that their cell wall is made of silica, and when they die that silica skeleton can become diatomite, or diatomaceous earth.