The ocean holds remarkable wonders from behemoth whales to iron-“breathing” bacteria ( See: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416144512.htm). You might even call some of them “alien” to emphasize just how different from our expectations some of them can be.
Being granted the wonderful opportunity to spend some time at a local Marine Station, I set out — with foldscope in hand — to try to find and share one of these “aliens” with the microcosmos community.
As micro-enthusiasts, we all know sometimes you needn’t look far — often peering into the micro is enough. Mindful of this approach, and inspired by some wonderful work at the ocean’s surface (any one interested in the ocean should look over this project! http://www.embl.de/tara-oceans/start/), I found some friends knowledgeable about plankton and swimming larvae.
Watch this “alien” taken on a 140x foldsope (in a special “dark-field” mode which is detailed here : http://microcosmos.foldscope.com/2015/06/24/simple-dark-field-improve-your-imaging-contrast-with-another-classic-microscopy-technique/)
Look at that beautiful “swallow”! Can you see the circulation of particles around the head and mouth? Lots of great structure to see in this short video. Enjoy.
This is a great example of some of the astonishing things you can find in the ocean. Remarkably, these bilaterally symmetric larvae ultimately turn into an adult starfish (pateria miniata) with 5 appendages. (http://www.cokesmithphototravel.com/coastal-california.html)
Learn more about the metamorphosis by looking at http://oceandevbio2013.blogspot.com/2013/05/species-patiria-miniata-phylum.html.
These “aliens” are just one of many in the ocean. Keep on exploring.