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Mr. M's Microscopy of the Reef, FlowerMama's Dinos! #303


Mr. Microscope

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Mr. Microscope

Scanning Electron Microscopy of Pocillopora

 

Hello All,

 

As some of you know I work with microscopes. Well, the other day I got an opportunity to throw a piece of coral into one of our scanning electron microscopes. This is a small piece of pocillopora that had bleached in my 3 gallon pico. I colorized a few images with Photoshop. Enjoy!

 

Here's a macro shot of the whole piece.

procillapora01.jpg

 

Getting in a little closer at an edge

Procillaporacolor05.jpg

 

Here we are zoomed in considerably further. There's a bunch of salt crystals here. They seemed to come in two sizes.

File07b.jpg

 

Here are some of the larger salt crystals. If you look closely, you can see some of the smaller salt crystals too. They look like little white spots.

File09a.jpg

 

If you look in the lower right had corner of the above image, you'll see a tiny diatom. I zoomed in on it here.

File11a.jpg

 

Here's another diatom I found.

File12a.jpg

 

Here are the super tiny salt crystals. You can also start to see the Calcium Carbonate crystal growth of the coral skeleton here. Some of the CaCO3 makes hexagonal patterns.

CubicCaCO3crystals.jpg

 

Wrapping things up with a little perspective.

procillaporazoom.jpg

 

Here's a brief protocol I used for sample processing If anyone is interested:

A small piece of coral was broken off of the main colony (less than one cm) and mounted to an SEM stub with a carbon glue called Dag. The sample was then coated with Osmium before being placed into the SEM. The coral was imaged with a Hitachi S-3400 Tungsten emission SEM at 10kV with variable probe currents and working distances.

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Mr. Microscope

Thanks everyone!

 

its amazing!

 

hope you can do this with some algae someday, would love to see cell walls up close

I've seen algae in transmission electron microscopy. It's kinda a plain looking cell, but I'll see if I can find the images.

 

I'm just starting to get into SEMs...and that was epic.

Cool! Where are you studying SEM?

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ThePhilosopher

Do you think it might be possible to do this with live corals, too?

 

Thank you for sharing these awesome pictures with us, by the way. Bookmarked.

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Mr. Microscope
Send me one of your old microscopes to play with kthx.

Sure, I'll ship that right out. Gotta crane I can borrow? :lol:

 

Do you think it might be possible to do this with live corals, too?

 

Thank you for sharing these awesome pictures with us, by the way. Bookmarked.

Well, it is possible to image wet samples in some EM's under the right conditions, but the resolution isn't that good. As for live samples, there's a vacuum in the microscope chamber. So, they won't be alive very long. It'd be like going into space without a pressure suit. It is possible to look at soft tissue by processing it with various aldehydes and sublimating out the liquids (which had been frozen) so that the sample is dehydrated without deformation. I thought it would be cool to do this with a zoanthid, but I'm not sure how I could keep it open during this process. They tend to close pretty fast under distress and I don't think a closed zoa would be very interesting. I'd run into that problem with a lot of corals. I need to research how to kill a coral while keeping its polyps extended. Here's a neat link:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/b8757t...ltext.html#Fig4

 

Dude more please!!!

Definitely planning to do more EM on reef stuff. I'm sans aquarium at the moment, but am working on setting up a frag tank. It should be up and reef ready by the end of September. I'm planning to look at some pods and other stuff I find in there. Get ready to see some monsters!

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Goin to way horrible thread! Just to go against others.. but yes please get yourself. Better education you will appreciate your job that much more and also more dorra dorra billz yo!

 

 

Excellent work thus far too cool!

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use the liquid nitro as an ice bath. freeze an entire shotglass with sw and the zoas all at once then thaw it out and see what happens. awesome shots man!

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Mr. Microscope
:huh:

Sorry, these things take up an entire room and weigh a ton.

 

 

use the liquid nitro as an ice bath. freeze an entire shotglass with sw and the zoas all at once then thaw it out and see what happens. awesome shots man!

And ruin a perfectly good shot glass?! You brute! :angry::lol:

Thanks!

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