Take a look into the eyepiece of our virtual microscope. It will take you on an expedition into the waters of Antarctica, onboard the Research Vessel "Walther Herwig". In the chilled optical laboratory many plankton organisms - carefully caught (O) - are kept alive in a small glass aquarium. They are illuminated in front of high resolution optics with ultra short XENON flashes. This is necessary, because the vibration of the ship, cracking through the pack ice, and the noise of the strong engines would otherwise blur the image. All Systems are suspended in bungee rubbers to isolate from noise and vibrations. You can search around on these animals, and whenever the mouse pointer turns into a hand you can change the "magnification "of your virtual microscope with a click. If the image is larger than your computer screen use your arrow keys like you would use the crosstable on a real microscope (you should have a real one on your table too). To switch back to lower magnifications you can either use the "page back" bottom of your web browser, or click into the upper left part of many images. If you have a computer with a large screen and a good network you can click into the uppermost part of some images to switch to bigger images. Below some images you can find more information about the plankton organisms in your virtual microscope

On the left eyepiece you see an amphipod. This crustacean is a fast swimming predator with very good eyes. Observe the first leg's construction to grab and handle large prey.

On the right eyepiece you see an euphausid, the famous antarctic krill - the reason, whales travel all the way down from the tropics to feed in Antarctica. Explore the fascinating eye or the filtering net formed by the first six legs or dive into the ultra structure of the gills on images taken with a transmission  electron microscope and a stereo electron microsope. Krill feeds on tiny phytoplankton. If you dive into this net you will see at higher magnifications of the unfolded structure - for these images we put an exuviae under the microscope (the leftover skin after each molting): The animal is long gone, but even the most minute structures of the filtering net are visible in this thin chitin structure hovering in the waters.

The real eyepieces of this cyber microscope are mounted today at the old Coast Guard Station (O) north of Atlantic City within a project of "distance oceanography - ocean data accessible for all", and in reality we look here into the two oculars with both eyes (O) to get a stereoscopic view in 3D and to allow for quantitative evaluations. As soon as the constructions of our "Cyberscope" systems (O) are finished, we can observe the oceanlife off Atlantic City through a long fibre optic cable 10 miles out (O), even in the worst weather, and even during a hurrican passing. So visit us in the near future again and click into the eyepiece, maybe you can then see online plankton.

The next step in this project -pending on funding- is that you will be able to move the underwater optic around with your mouse or joystick, even to deliver food to the plankton, then hunt from your home after the biggest shrimp or juvenile fish and catch the best micro-photography. The best cyber-photograph of the month will be invited to visit the Coast Guard Station in the real world (O).

If you want to learn, how such images are produced and edited, check out or SUMMER UNIVERSITY class at ATLANTIC CITY on "Scientific Photography in Oceanography" (O)

such (O) a marker brings you to more information if you point and click with the mouse on it

sponsored by

VOLKSWAGEN foundation

associated with

RUTGERS unviversity

Marine and Coastal Sciences

in cooperation with


visit an integration of this cyberMICROSCOPE into the server of a school in Sydney (O)

version 2.4

copyright all images Uwe Kils

back to uwe's server

you can order a CD-ROM version (O) of the cyber microscope which can be used in classrooms without INTERNET connection - contains also some simple to use teaching aids for computer use and World Wide Web surfing, some other creatures and images at very high resolutions and magnifications


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