Algal bloom under the microscope

Images made through a microscope. All subject types.

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hkv
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:58 pm
Location: Sweden

Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by hkv »

During the summertime, algal bloom is a problem in Sweden as well as in many other countries. The most common algae, often called Blue-Green algae, are not really algae, but belong to another group of organisms, namely Cyanobacteria. This summer we had an explosion of cyanobacteria and other algae blooming just close to where I live in Stockholm. In July and August, I collected water samples from the blooms and discovered there were both cyanobacteria and green algae to be found.

The first species is a colonial cyanobacterium called Gloeotrichia. It is relatively large and colonies can easily be seen as small dots on the surface of the water. During the night, they seem to sink and are no longer floating, but the reappear as soon as the sun starts to rise. I have tried to keep these alive in a water sample in my garage, but they are very difficult to culture and keep alive. I have tried various temperatures and lighting conditions, but all attempts have failed so far.⁣

The second set of images are a microscopic colony of the green algae called "Botryococcus braunii”. It measures about 140 micrometers across. Colonies are held together by a lipid (oily) biofilm and you can see old droplets around the edge of the colony. Typically around 30–40% of the dry weight of a colony is oil. Blooms of Botryococcus braunii have been shown to be toxic to other micro-organisms and fish but they may have other applications than being a source of food. Botryococcus braunii has great potential for algaculture because of the hydrocarbons it produces, which can be chemically converted into fuels. Botryococcus oils can be used as feedstock for hydrocracking in an oil refinery to produce octane (gasoline), kerosene, and diesel.

The third species I found in large amounts are another cyanobacteria, Aphanizomenon. Here photographed in darkfield illumination.

Gloeotrichia in darkfield illumination. Olympus UplanSAPO 4X objective. Focus stacked:

ImageCyanobacteria - Gloeotrichia by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

I call this one "Dancing ballerinas". Gloeotrichia in fluorescent illumination (ultraviolet). Olympus UplanXAPO 10X objective. Focus stacked:

ImageCyanobacteria - Gloeotrichia by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Gloeotrichia in fluorescent illumination (ultraviolet). Olympus UplanXAPO 10X objective. Focus stacked:

ImageCyanobacteria - Gloeotrichia by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Gloeotrichia in fluorescent illumination (ultraviolet). Olympus UplanXAPO 40X objective. Single shoot:

ImageCyanobacteria - Gloeotrichia by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Gloeotrichia in fluorescent illumination (ultraviolet). Olympus UplanXAPO 40X objective. Single shoot:

ImagealgalblooCyanobacteria - Gloeotrichiam-4 by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Botryococcus braunii in DIC. Close to crossed polarizers. Olympus UplanXAPO 60X Oil objective. Focus stacked:

ImageGreen alga - Botryococcus braunii by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Botryococcus braunii in DIC. Relaxed polarizers with DIC slider slightly pulled out. Olympus UplanXAPO 60X Oil objective. Focus stacked:

ImageBotryococcus Braunii by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Aphanizomenon in darkfield illumination. Olympus UplanXAPO 20X objective. Focus stacked:

ImageCyanobacteria - Aphanizomenon by Håkan Kvarnström, on Flickr

Pau
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by Pau »

=D> =D> =D>
Pau

Olympusman
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by Olympusman »

Spectacular!

Mike
Michael Reese Much FRMS EMS Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA

flyer2o12
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by flyer2o12 »

Absolutely fantastic images Hakan!

pbraub
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by pbraub »

Wonderful images. Thank you for sharing!

hkv
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Location: Sweden

Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by hkv »

Thank you all!

micro_pix
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by micro_pix »

Amazing images! Absolutely stunning!

Dave

WalterD
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by WalterD »

These are very interesting pictures Hakan, the darkfield and fluorescent are my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

Regards

Walter

hkv
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:58 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by hkv »

micro_pix wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:31 am
Amazing images! Absolutely stunning!

Dave
WalterD wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:23 am
These are very interesting pictures Hakan, the darkfield and fluorescent are my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

Regards

Walter
Thank you Dave and Walter! I agree, the fluorescence turned out great. Wonderful illumination technique.

anne
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by anne »

Dear Hakan,
absolutely wonderful images, never seen in this quality before!!!
anne

Luis Barrera Puigdollers
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Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by Luis Barrera Puigdollers »

Amazing and super photogenic subject!!!I envy your equipment . I hope people watching this could control GAS

hkv
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:58 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Algal bloom under the microscope

Post by hkv »

anne wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:24 am
Dear Hakan,
absolutely wonderful images, never seen in this quality before!!!
anne
Luis Barrera Puigdollers wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:25 am
Amazing and super photogenic subject!!!I envy your equipment . I hope people watching this could control GAS
Thank you so much! Yes, I think algae in general has great potential to help solve the climate change crisis. One of the main advantages is that it does not compete with land crops, meaning space that is used for food production. If we could use our seas and lakes for this purpose, it would be a huge advantage and not in competition with food production.

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