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Microscopes

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The Eyes of Poseidon
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The Eyes of Poseidon

This is a light microscope circa 1889. We've come a long way since then.

Topic

Underwater Microscope

Student Exploration

Seen and Unseen

No one is certain who made the first microscope or when. What is certain is that Robert Hooke's book Micrographia, published in 1665, had a profound affect on the way the world was viewed and biology in general. Since then, the microscope has become a staple in the biological arsenal. In the 20th century, we began to see electron microscopes and sonic microscopes as biologists sought images of smaller and smaller objects. Now in the 21st century, biologists are applying microscopy to a new realm with the development of an underwater video microscope. With this invention, microscopy is poised to open up yet another new frontier.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. Why has it been hard to study plankton in their natural environment?
  2. What color are blooms of cocolithophores? What causes this coloration?
  3. What important role do phytoplankton play in the world's oceans?
  4. What sorts of information can scientists gain by being able to view the natural behavior of plankton? How important do you think this sort of information is to understanding organisms and ecosystems?

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