Day 2: Protists
Get to know the protists in your microlife guides today, learn the major groups and distinguishing features, and continue your exploration of microscopic living things! But keep in mind that some protists are actually macroscopic, such as many algae. If you live near the ocean you might want to learn some seaweeds today.
Video: “Pondlife 1 – Pond Scum Under the Microscope (Sally Warring)” (8:34)
Go out into nature with some vials or other covered containers with labels, a dropper, a scraping knife, and a fine marker such as a Sharpie. Explore as many places as you can. Find muck, scum, moss, partially rotten material such as leaves, sketchy looking vegetation, water sources, stagnant little pools, soils… Scrape the crevices in bark, the surfaces of lichen or mushrooms, waste slicks or spots… Place each sample in a separate container, and label with a number or key word. Then in your field notes describe the sample as thoroughly and specifically as you can. When you return to home base, get that light microscope out! And your guides to microlife. Moisten and chop up each sample if it is dry or chunky. Soak solid pieces and strain them. Pick up tiny droplets of good-looking liquid and plop them on a slide. Follow directions on the microscope slide preparation kit and get to know your microlife guides. See if you can identify any of the living things you find. Start at very low magnification and work your way up.