We are a Stanford class, led by Prof. Margaret “Minx” Fuller, that is about to embark on a trip to Ecuador to study evolution in the Amazon rainforest and Andean cloud forest. We are very excited for the opportunity to use the Foldscope throughout the trip to look at whatever organisms we can find in bromeliads, lakes, rivers, soil – anything we can fit on a slide! Prof. Prakash met us at Bio-X Kids’ Day to teach us how to build and use the Foldscope.
We also grabbed some soil from below a nearby plant:The soil had a lot of shards of inorganic material in it, but we also saw what looked like plenty of organic material. We think we saw some fungal spores, such as the very round, dark object near the center of this image:
My lab mentor had a fish tank in her apartment with some algal growth that I examined:Zooming in as much as possible on the iPhone camera seemed to reveal that the cells are segmented and chained to form one “blade” of this algae.
Finally, we looked at some Morchella elata mycelium, the base for the prized culinary morel mushrooms:MyceliumWe’re not sure what these small, oval-shaped objects are, but there were a lot of them! Does anyone have an idea what they might be? I’m not sure if it’s just inorganic substrate, or something more interesting.
Many thanks to Manu Prakash for gifting us these Foldscopes! We hope to provide more posts soon, next time from Ecuador!
– Ian and the rest of the Stanford in Ecuador overseas seminar