Polkerris Beach, Cornwall: Microscopic/Macroscopic

Polkerris Beach Cornwall. The Macroscopic view, 25th January 2017

 

On the way back from a microbiology workshop, that I recently ran for The Eden Project, I stopped off at Polkerriss Beach with my portable, with the hope of revealing another layer of reality that exists beyond the resolution of the human eye.

I began by examining beach sand at 100-times magnification and revealed small slivers of rock,  and minute fragments of shell that make up the sand.

Polkerris beach sand at 100-times magnification

 

I then also collected micro-litre samples of water from the sea itself, and also from briny rock pools and recorded the tracks made by microscopic organisms that inhabit the sea and which underpin all other life that exists in the Earth’s oceans.

Tracks made by microscopic seawater organisms

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 23.62 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 27.05 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 17.23 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 7.12 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 60.59 second exposure.

Taken with NightCap Pro

 

Tracks made by microscopic organisms found in a rockpool

Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 6.89 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 23.68 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 10.17 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 18.73 second exposure.Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 23.62 second exposure.

I’m struck by the differences between the images made from seawater and those from rock pool water, and how these microcosms reflect the macroscopic. The images produced by the cold and grey seawater are very different to those generated by water from a vibrant and colourful rock pool.

I’ve used this same process to reveal microscopic life in my own garden, and in buckets of collected rainwater, and here there is a far greater level of microbial activity compared to those above.

Tracks made by microscopic organisms found in a bucket of collected rainwater in my garden. Taken with NightCap Pro. Light Trails mode, 45.76 second exposure.

Biology. Tracks made by infusoria. 45.76 second exposure

 

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