Pyrocycstis lunula algae viewed under a USB microscope

Pyrocycstis lunula algae viewed under a USB microscope

Ok, I need you to squint a little at the photograph above – look for a vaguely crescent-moon shaped outline, with a yellowy-whiteish blob in the middle.  Found one?  That’s a Pyrocycstis Lunula alga!  They’re about 0.1mm to 0.14mm in length, and they’re one of the bioluminescent algae strains that I’ve been culturing.

I’m sorry to admit that photograph is a bit rubbish, but I’m using one of those low-end, cheapo USB microscopes – and believe me – when they say something like x150 power, they are including the ‘scaling up’ effect of showing it on a computer screen.  I.e. the magnification is pretty limited.  If there’s anyone who can give some advice on how I might improve my microphotography, please let me know!

Nonetheless, being able to see the crescent shape cells of these tiny little glowing bundles of brilliant, pleases me greatly!  All I need to do now is find some kind of long-exposure, night-friendly camera, and I’ll be able to take photographs of some of the algae glowing.

Fun Fact: While Pyrocycstis Lunula doesn’t, Pyrocycstis Fusiformis and Pyrocycstis Noctiluca both glow when vibrated by the low frequency sound of my partner’s voice!  (Or by simply tapping the shelf.)  Lunula glows best when you pick up the container and give it a little shake.

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