Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Look Into the Sea

With the Video Plankton Recorder (VPR), an underwater video camera-microscope, we are able to take a unique look at the animals in the ocean while they are actually living there. Typically, pictures of plankton are taken in the lab in a dish or aquarium. It's hard to say for sure what their natural behavior would be when they're continuously bumping into glass walls but they're no doubt a bit stressed. The VPR is gently lowered through the water column with a strobe flashing 15 times per second. This may not be too natural for them either but it's a very brief encounter before the instrument passes them by. Some of the images are remarkable, take a look for yourself.

Here are a few images of pteropods and other plankton from the VPR.

A pteropod, Limacina retroversa has a typical snail shaped body but it's foot has evolved into a pair of wings it uses to swim in the water column.

another Limacina pteropod.

This is a cone-shaped pteropod, Creseis

A comb jelly floated by.

A darkly colored amphipod with a light tail (left) and large eye (right).

This copepod appears blue.

This ostracod is swimming vertically, not what I would expect.

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