Saturday, May 16, 2009

Diatoms at U-Dub

Today Pritha and I went by University of Washington's Friday Harbor Marine Station Labs to check out the open house.

We got to hear a rockin' presentation on the effects of CO2 on ocean pH and the role of phytoplankton in carbon sequestration. We got free popcorn and we got to pet a sea cucumber. But the best part was checking out the diatoms in the room with the microscope.

These two guys were unstoppable. They showed us baby clams, baby jellyfish, copepods of all sizes, crazy worms; swimmers, floaters, predators, prey, and the prettiest of all, the amazing pillbox-shaped diatoms. Diatoms alone, diatoms in crazy stacks just like in the cartoons when someone piles up ice cream scoops to the sky.

They captivated the little girl below in the lifevest and it made me remember the day when I first unwrapped my microscope when I was 9 or 10, and looked at a drop of water from my grandma's fishpond.

Sometimes I wish I was a scientist.

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