World Water Day

March 22, 2020 marks World Water Day. On this day, we turn our thoughts to water, climate change, and the link between these two. For World Water Day, we are highlighting two blog posts featuring stories of scientists studying the oceans and marine life as well as images of microscopic marine animals from our social media channels. Please enjoy and then take a moment to consider what you can do on World Water Day.

Dr. Richard Kirby studies marine life

The passion of marine scientist Dr. Richard Kirby is to bring the secret world of plankton nearer to us all. His popular website and @PlanktonPundit Twitter account are famous for excellent footage of all those minuscule creatures that float and roam the biggest ecosystems on our planet – the oceans.

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Carrying out research at sea with the world’s first hybrid cruise ship

Launched in July 2019, MS Roald Amundsen cruise ship is the first of the two new hybrid-powered expedition ships in Hurtigruten’s fleet. In addition to carrying tourists, scientists also get on board to collect seawater as it travels on its commercial voyage. Part of their work includes analysis of levels of plankton, krill – essential for the survival of penguins – and pollutants such as microplastics.

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Microscopic marine life images

Colour through the Eye of a Mantis Shrimp
Colour through the Eye of a Mantis Shrimp

The retina and underlying optic lobes of a mantis shrimp have been stained to reveal the many different units of light information processing before it reaches the central brain. Alexa Fluor probes on fixed mantis shrimp brain section embedded in VectorShield H1000 and imaged with ZEISS LSM 710 confocal microscope Courtesy of Elise Roberts, Honours Student, Marshall Lab, Queensland Brain Institute QBI
Cnidaria, MultiView Light Sheet Microscopy (4 of 4)
Cnidaria, MultiView Light Sheet Microscopy

Immunostaining of planktonic Cnidaria. Acetylated tubulin (green), myosin (red), nuclei (blue). Image taken with ZEISS Lightsheet Z.1 during the EMBO course on Marine Animal Models in Evolution & Development, Sweden 2013. Sample courtesy of Helena Parra, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona.
Doliolum nationalis by Dr Richard Kirby, Plymouth University, UK
Doliolum nationalis by Dr Richard Kirby, Plymouth University, UK

Microphotograph of the adult doliolid Doliolum nationalis. The larval stage of this creature possesses a notochord – a flexible rod-like structure of supporting cells – and so, like humans, they belong to the phylum Chordata. This 1.5 mm long, adult doliolid possesses bands of muscle around its barrel-shaped body that help it swim and feed as it drifts among the plankton at the sea surface. Contraction and relaxation of the muscles draws water in through the buccal siphon (right) and over the comb-like gills before it is expelled as a jet from the atrial siphon (left). A mucus sheet situated behind the gills traps food particles before the stream of water leaves the animal’s body. The image was taken using darkfield transmitted light microscopy with ZEISS Axio Scope and is part of the International Images for Science Exhibition 2013:…
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