Hello again Foldscope friends!
If you are a regular on this blog, you already know that our Marine Ecology class at CSU-Monterey bay is stoked about getting to field test Foldscopes. On our most recent field trip, we went to Point Pinos in Pacific Grove, CA.
The point is dominated by a golf links and neighborhoods, surrounding the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast. The entire point falls within the boundaries of marine protected areas, and the intertidal is full of life!
I found a giant green anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) eating the remains of a fish (size 11 boot for scale)
… a baby octopus …
… and a tiny sea star.
We were there during a low tide, and at the waters edge seagrasses became dominant in some areas. I’d never looked at seagrass under a microscope before, so I grabbed a small sample and took a look. I tore a ~8mm section from small blade of grass and mounted it on a concave microscope slide.
I was amazed to see the tightly-packed cells in neat rows, and the fibers sticking out of the end that I likely would have missed had I cut the grass with a knife. Neat!
The small bunch of grass also had some decaying bits, and knowing that many organisms would likely be munching on that sort of material, I made another slide. The piece was ~2mm wide.
But what’s this? A tiny snail!
I was able to zoom in with my iPhone 6s for this lovely shot:
I watched for a while, but it seemed to no longer be alive. It appears to be roughly as long as two or three seagrass cells. What caught my attention the most was the chambered appearance. In the very center you can see the larval shell, which protects the snail before it starts to grow into a spiral. I have no idea what kind of snail it is, but it sure is cool!