I am most interested in portraying the natural, living state of algae
and protozoans. This goal simplifies the microscopy process.
So far, specimens were not preserved, stained, or cleaned (for diatoms)
with chemicals. Samples after 2001 were examined on the same day
of collection in most cases. It seems apparent that notable
species deteriorate and die within hours to days of collecting. I
attempt to set up the microscope and camera to capture the natural
colors of the specimens, which is always challenging to do.
More recently, I have tried experimenting with movement inhibitors, such
as methyl cellulose and Detain, in an attempt to capture the small,
speedy organisms that I frequently see but have not been able to
capture. Maybe in the future I will employ staining and culturing
when needed for identification purposes.
Compound Microscope (in Dr.
Michael Gretz's laboratory)
Samples were viewed with a Zeiss Axioskop, a differential interference contrast
(DIC) compound microscope, equipped with Plan Neofluar objectives (20x and 40x)
and an optivar (1.25x, 1.6x, 2.0x, 2.5x). So far, no images were captured
with oil immersion.
In 2001 - 2010, the microscope used an attached Sony model DXC-930 three chip video
camera to transmit an analog signal. Digital images and video were then
captured with graphics cards installed on PCs.
- In 2001, images were captured with a UNIX-based Snapper 24 image
capture card (640 x 480 px). Video was recorded on VHS tape and later
converted to digital video using the Matrox card of 2003.
- In 2003, video was captured with a Matrox RT 2500 video capture
card (720 x 480 px). Select video frames were then saved as images.
- In 2005 - 2010, images were captured with a Scion CG7
image capture card (1280 x 960 px).
- In 2005 - 2007, video was captured with a Matrox RTX 100 XP
video capture card (720 x 480 px). Images of animated specimens were sometimes
acquired from the digital video.
In 2010, a portion of the images were captured with a Zeiss AxioCam MRC digital
camera (1388 x 1040 px).
Dissecting Microscope (in Dr.
Casey Huckins' laboratory)
- In 2001, digital images of few macro-algae were captured with a dissecting
microscope, attached camera, and capturing software.