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Hello fellow microscope hobbyists, I am starting my new post at blogger.com.  See the pictures of my latest field trip mineral collection from Chucky Gal Mountain, North Carolina here.

I had enought his dull peeler for a little while.  It hasn’t been sharp since the first day I bought it.  I finally decided to but another one.  The new one is sharp.  I gentle slide the new peeler on the surface of an apple.  The peel just separate from the pulp without much effort.  The two peelers have different styles and blade coating.  I was curious about why the new peeler worked so well while the old not so well.

My old peeler (white) and old peeler (black)

I looked them under my stereo microscope.  The width of the edge of the sharp peeler (~30 uM) was only 1/3 of the dull peeler.  The dull peeler seems to have a flat surface on the edge (~100 uM). The thick and flat surface is the reason that my old peeler would not peel smoothly.

The sharp peeler under stereo microscope

The sharp peeler under stereo microscope

The dull peeler under stereo microscope

The dull peeler under stereo microscope

The picture was taken with Tucsen Microscope Camera from the eyepiece of Ample Scientific SMPlus_24 stereo microscope.

We took a little detour to Anna Maria Island beach on our way home from Orlando, Florida.  Anna Maria Island is located on the south side of Tampa bay.  Aside from the beautiful sugar white sand and warm water, we love to collect some sea shells and marine fossils there.  Most sea shells are broken but we found plenty of sea weeds floating close to the shore.  I though that might be a good subject to look at under a microscope.

Red seaweed

Red seaweed - noticed that the seaweed on the right are in healthy red/browish color while on the left, the seaweed is transparent.

Healthy red seaweed under stereo microscope

Healthy red seaweed under Ample Scientific SM-Plus-24 stereo microscope (illuminated mainly with bottom light and compensated with top light)

Healthy red seaweed at 100X

Healthy red seaweed at 100X (Nexcope CM701 biological microscope)

Some algae grow on the surface of the red seaweed

Some algae grow on the surface of the red seaweed

Dead red seaweed

Dead red seaweed with Bryozoan growing on the surface

Close up view of the organisms on the red seaweed

Close up view of the bryozoans on the red seaweed

Close up view of a Bryozoanon the red seaweed.

Close up view of a Bryozoanon the red seaweed. The tentacles will extended out from time to time.

The video of the Bryozoan:

Some sort of root structure can been seen within the transparent seaweed.

Some sort of root structure can been seen within the transparent seaweed.

Vorticella found on the red seaweed

Vorticella found on the red seaweed

This is my first attempt to collect marine life for observation.  I still can’t identify the species of the seaweed that I have collected.  Based on the color but it seems to be more brown than red but morphologically, they look very similar to Plocamium cartilagineu. Without enough knowledge for proper identification, I would just call the seaweed for now and return here to update the proper name once they are identified.

Some seaweed identification websites:

Washington State University Beach Watchers

http://www.pznow.co.uk/marine/seaweed.html

Pond life Revisted

The subjects of my interests about microscopy changes from time to time.  I have been crazy about rocks and minerals this summer.   The temperature here has been dipped down to mid 40s degree F (7 degree C) in the early morning although the mid day temperature is still comfortably at mid 70s.  I got to go out to collect some pond specimens for observation before it is too cold for any organism to be active.  I choose different collection site, Briscoe Park Located at Snellville, GA.

The number and variety have been drastically reduced from my early summer observation.  Again, I found seed shrimp (Ostracod) in my collection.

Seed Shrimp (Ostracod)

Seed Shrimp (Ostracod)

A Dinoflagellate Ceratium spp.

First time, I observed a dinoflagellate (Ceratium Furca). It is a flagellate protist. I can barely see the flagella because the flagella are relatively transparent.

Diatom

filamentous Green Algae

Unidentified Algae Colony

The specimen was collected in 60 mL tube and split into a several 7 mL tubes and centrifuged in my homemade centrifuge.

The destination of my second Georgia Mineral Society field trip is Amos cunningham Farm located in Due West/Antreville Area, South Carolina.  The collection site is known for its beryl, amethyst and smoky quartz.  The site is flat to rolling land of South Carolina red clay.  The digging areas have been machine trenched down to white kaolite veins that have the beryl and quartz crystals.  Dirt and rock removed from the trenches and piled up, also contain beryl and are good places to search.

Some macro shot of the specimen collected in the field trip:

a Piece of Emeral (a variety of mineral beryl) is included in smoky quartz

a Piece of Emeral (a variety of mineral beryl) is included in smoky quartz

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz

Felspar

Felspar can be found plenty in the kaolite vein where the smoky quartz and emerald exist.

Pumice

Aside from felspar, there are also plenty of Pumice in the kaolite vein. Pumice is a very porus and light rock. If you put them in water, you can heal the bubbling sound.

Flaky Mica

A Piece of Flaky Mica

Images of the collection under stereo microscope:

Emeral

Emeral: The picture shows part of the hexgonal shape

Emeral Side View

Emeral Side View

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz at Amos Cummingham Form has gray and greenish color

Felspar

Felspar

There is a piece of biotite on the surface of the felspar

There is a piece of biotite on the surface of the felspar

a Sheet of Mica

a Sheet of Mica

The macro shot was captured by Olympus Stylus 7010 camera in super macro mode.  The photomicrograph was the specimens are taken with Tucsen Microscope Camera from Ample Scientific SM-Plus-24 Stereo Microscope.

Cheese Mold

A piece of left over cheddar cheese  was left in the refrigerater since our last field trip a few weeks ago.  A layer of white cheese mold have been growning on the surface.

Cheese Mold under Stereo Microscope

Cheese Mold under Stereo Microscope

A very dense white/green cheese mold

Cheese Mold Malachite Green

Cheese Mold Stained with Malachite Green

Some molds were scrapped off from the cheese and shaked in a vial with 2mL water.  The mixture then stained with Malachite green.

dissolve mineral and crystalized the minerals is another way to prepare the specimen for polarized light microscope examination.  Yesterday, I dissolve several common ingredients for food seasonings and put a few drops on the slides to allow them to dry: table salt (Sodium Chloride), Sugar and Alum hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate.  I also drop a few drops of methylene blue.  Today they are all pretty much dried out – The sugar is still somewhat sticky but I can clearly see the sugar crystals in snow flake shape.

White Sugar Crystal under Polarized Light Microscope

White Sugar Crystal under Polarized Light Microscope

White Sugar Crystal under Polarized Light

White Sugar Crystal under Polarized Light (This is the first photo with some post processing by adjusting the gamma to 0.6 from 1.0)

 The color of the sugar crystal shows richer color when I adjust the gamma correction.  The loss of color must have been caused by the manual shooting mode. 

White sugar crystal under polarized light microscope

White sugar crystal under polarized light microscope

White sugar crystal under polarized light microscope

White sugar crystal under polarized light microscope

Alum crystal under polarized light microscope

Alum crystal under polarized light microscope

Table salt under polarized light microscope

Table salt under polarized light microscope

Methylene blue under polarized light microscope

Methylene blue under polarized light microscope

The photos are taken with Canon EOS T1i with Manual mode (ISO 400, exposure 4 sec, auto white balance).  Nexcope CM701 converted polarized light microscope was used for observation.