I recently had the pleasure of teaching a Tropical Entomology course in the Peruvian Amazon over winter break (this was through an organization called Field Projects International https://fieldprojects.org). Thanks to Manu and the Foldscope team, I was able to bring down several Foldscope units for my students. In addition to teaching them about topics ranging from ecology to the vast biodiversity of Neotropical insects, I thought it would be valuable to enable students to explore the microcosmos of the Amazon rainforest with their new portable microscopes!
Here are some images from the Foldscope Workshop –
Preparing to do some origami!
Even without the LEDs for transmitted light, we had plenty of equatorial sun to backlight our samples.
One of my students, Ian, studies dragonflies and he immediately became intrigued examining the anatomy of one that was found deceased in the jungle. I was pretty blown away by a cross section he made of the compound eyes, which are composed of thousands of ommatidia.
Playing around with alternative light sources for transmitted light.
Butterfly wings under the Foldscope.
Also paid a visit to the Tambopata Research Center and was able to run a mini Foldscope workshop with some of the local guides!
Transparent butterfly wings have intriguing microscopic scales coating the wing surface. I’m interested in studying this group further for my PhD to understand the development and genetics of transparent and structurally colored butterfly nanostructures.
The jungle-dwellers with their portable origami microscopes. I’ll provide future updates sharing more of their findings and hope to continue to bring Foldscopes with me to the tropics on future trips.