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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BUM in the Ocean: In Situ Microscopy "Polyps" Into View

           Benthic Underwater Microscopy (BUM) is a new technology for studying coral polyps and other microscopic organisms in situ.



     
       The exquisite and delicate structures of the benthic ecosystems are analyzed and photographed at the bottom of the sea floor.





      The microscope features an extremely high-resolution camera, an underwater computer with a diver interface, bright LED lights for fast exposure images, and a flexible, tunable lens that allows scientists to view underwater structures in 3D.



           
     Millions of polyps work together to build coral reefs by secreting calcium carbonate, with the minute animals providing nutrients and color to the reef.

    


      Using the BUM microscope, scientists were able to position themselves 5 centimeters away from the polyps and watch them as they captured tiny plankton and brine shrimp with tiny swaying tentacles.




     Researchers left the microscopes out overnight in order to record the polyps over an extended period. The images and footage gathered show the polyps’ gentle “dancing” and post-meal "kisses" that scientists say could be a way for polyps to share nutrients throughout the coral colony.




     Images from the Benthic Underwater Microscope also revealed a more violent side to the secret lives of polyps, showing coral of different species conquering weaker specimens. In order to win more reef space, the conquering coral will emit filaments that secrete stomach enzymes to destroy the tissue of their competitors.






     Researchers have used the BUM in two places so far, the waters off of Maui and the coast of Israel. With some of the largest coral bleaching events ever recorded taking place this year, scientists were especially interested to study the hard-hit coral reefs off of Maui.




     With the help of the new microscopic tool, scientists discovered that in bleached areas, there is a honeycomb pattern of algal colonization (like underwater squatters, algae move in when coral is weak from bleaching) and algal growth around individual polyps on the coral.




     When coral are weak, scientists found, algae are able to outgrow and smother the already struggling reefs.

       The new BUM technology is promising for understanding subsea micro-organisms, especially coral polyps.

          Lastly, this unrelated image made me laugh today. Hope you enjoy as well!



Hope you wonder at the new technology that has "polyps" into view.
Steph

Any ideas as to what this flower is? Thistle-like. . .but different. It's growing in West Chicago Creek, Colorado. 









33 comments:

  1. Q: Anyone know any jokes about sodium?

    A: Na

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still don't know what 'benthic' means, but I'm working on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Benthic = Living on the sea (or lake) floor, rather than floating or swimming in the water.

      Mea culpa, I ought to have included that definition.

      Delete
    2. Well, now you've taken all the fun out of it.

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    3. It's also Alan Thicke's brother, the one who is next alphabetically. . .

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    4. Todd? Or are you breaking the news that Joanne is now Joseph?

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    5. Long-lost brother Ben Thicke. . .

      No other breaking news, Paul.

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  3. These polyps are so much more fun and pretty (we know this thanks to BUM technology) compared with those other "polyps" -- the ones my dictionary defines as "projecting masses of swollen and hypertrophied or tumorous membrane!"

    So I suggest we call these "fun polyps" by a different name. After brainstorming with Mendo Jim and Katie, I have decided to rearrange the letters in the fun, pretty "polyp"... and call it a "loppy."

    LegoWhoInHisYouthWasAHighStrungAndExcitableBoySoTheyAwardedHimWithAHyperTrophy

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    Replies
    1. I think I missed something about Katie.

      Great clip, Lego. Piano and guitar were quite amazing. Rock on, Z.

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  4. Thank you for the amazing post and photos! So sorry to hear about the severity of bleaching off Maui.

    I'll post the link at Top of JC's Mind for my stalwart readers who are sticking around despite my less than optimal blogging regimen these days.

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  5. All that occurs to me are "beach BUM", "bleach BUM", and the polyps that we discover and remove during a colonoscopy, involving a bum of an entirely different sort.

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    Replies
    1. Well, now you wrecked 'em for all of us, jan! ;-)

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  6. In other news, back when Bill Clinton's Attorney General nominees kept getting shot down because of failing to pay the nanny tax, the Capitol Steps did a song with the wonderful line, "Zoe wouldn't pay the tax, but Kimba Wood." (I think it was a version of their "Day Care", a takeoff on "Day-O".) For the past several days, the line "David wouldn't leave the EU, but Theresa May" has been bouncing around my brain, looking for the rest of the song

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Not your Zoe, of course, WW.)

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    2. I very much like the Theresa May line, jan!

      Yeah, we'd decided on Zoë before the Zoë Baird nannygate situation. Zoë has blossomed in popularity since then. . .

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    3. How about a Mary Poppins parody: "Angry birds: trumppence are mad"?

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    4. No, let's not ruin beloved Mary Poppins. Clever, though.

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  7. I wonder if there are any cosmologists clever and brave enough (foolish and insensitive?) to wear a "Black Matter Lives" t-shirt?

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  8. Goldilocks? I meant, Bear in Golden Locks Himself in Car. (He thought the Subaru was just right.)

    Reminds me of this earlier story, which Stephen Colbert picked up and used as evidence that bears indeed shift in the woods.

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    Replies
    1. Golden bear--is that a brown bear variety?

      Bears shift in the woods--gotta love that. . .

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    2. It is, in fact, an extinct brown bear variety. Or a Berkeley athlete. Or Arnie Palmer.

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    3. Jack Nicklaus?

      Didn't know about the other two!

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    4. Didn't I already say I'm not a sports fan?

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    5. No worries. Arnie has the drink with iced tea and lemonade. I think I'd rather be the golden bear. . .

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  9. I added a photo of a new flower at the end of this post. Any IDeas?

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    Replies
    1. You're just trying to get me to say Silybum.

      Delete
    2. Yes ;-). Of course, thistle do. . .but this looks so much more wispy and doesn't have the thistle greenery.

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    3. I loaded the photo over to Mister Smarty Plants, so we'll see what folks say. . .

      Delete
  10. New post on "Geological Mystery Feature: Alluvial Platinum from Russia" is now up.

    ReplyDelete