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Biogeosciences

Coffee break biogeosciences–in situ sub-millimeter scale resolution imaging of benthic environments

Coffee break biogeosciences–in situ sub-millimeter scale resolution imaging of benthic environments

Coral reefs and other benthic marine ecosystems play a very important role in the biogeochemical cycles of our oceans. However, laboratory based study of these environments ranges from being difficult to actually impossible. In order to look at the microscopic-scale processes that occur in the benthic environment a team of scientists developed the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM). The device, which can be deployed by a diver in situ allows for imaging and filming microscopic processes occurring on corals reefs. The microscope can be used to observe coral polyp behavior, and the behavior of symbiotic organisms living inside the coral. Scientists have also found that it can be used to observe the recolonization of bleached corals by micro algae.
To read more about this new imaging device see the original paper by Mullen et al., 2016, and here is the device in action.

Rachael Moore is a PhD student at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, and an Early Stage Researcher with the Marie-Curie ITN ABYSS. Her research focuses on the interaction between microbial life and basaltic rocks in the deep biosphere. Currently she is using material from a CO2 injection site to observe how microorganisms alter their host environment in response to CO2 exposure. You can find her on twitter @raeleigh08 or as a contributor to SeaRocks Blog.

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