Hello again! We have had some exciting things happen in the lab! We recently got our lovely FlowCam back after being upgraded! It now has a nifty autofocus feature and produces beautiful pictures of every single microscopic organism that flows through the camera (Hence the name FlowCam!) One of the graduate students, Marie Head, has been showing me how to run water samples through the machine and it is absolutely amazing!
The mighty FlowCam and all of its beautiful pictures!
The goal of using the FlowCam is to get an idea of 1) what is in our water samples and 2) what kind of ciliates we can find. The pictures can be categorized into libraries based on previously identified species, and we can see what kind of ciliates we should be finding when we try to isolate them! Unfortunately, somewhere between the FlowCam and the collection bottle, our organisms didn’t quite make it. We suspect they may have gotten stuck in the syringe or perhaps stuck to the plastic tubing. Luckily, the FlowCam only takes 5 mL samples so we had plenty more water to look through. While we aren’t able to use the FlowCam-checked water samples to isolate, the machine still provides us with vital information about the communities we can find in the Gulf of Mexico!
Katie Vaccaro, University of West Florida