Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Week 5: if only I could see...

Vision issues.  Everything is basically complete, except... I haven't seen spores yet.  And this continues to be a problem.

A few test runs this week got algae to release spores in my tanks, but that I simply wasn't seeing them.  After scourging the microscope and webcam optics all day yesterday, I finally found the culprit: bubbles, and maybe low light levels.  Because the my tanks are constantly bubbled with CO2 enriched air to keep the acidity constant, there are just too many air bubbles floating around.  In almost not time flat, they cover the glass plate under my microscope and just make it impossible to clearly see anything
A picture of the setup, in total.

I think this is a solvable problem, I'm just figuring out how.  I improvised a plastic bag to contain the microscope today, and it seemed to work pretty well. Further tests with spore release will tell. It's really annoying to be so close to my first really data, and to have bubbles get in the way.

In any case, went on another beautiful collecting trip.  I got some great pictures of the three species I'll be working on this summer: the two pink corallines from my PhD, and a third fleshy (not calcified) red algae that I've had good success in the past getting spore release from.
Corallina vancouveriensis, the one that look like rose petals
Calliarthron tuberculosum, spiny and spickly.
Polysiphonia sp.  Really common, mat-like algae.  Pull it apart and its a bunch of fine, interwoven branches.

In any case, happy 4th of July everyone!

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