While we can observe the beauty of a oceanic feature like the Great Barrier Reef in person and in stunning photos (even from space!) we should take a step back and remember that this is all possible at a microscopic level. Long story short, the building blocks of things like coral reefs, kelp forests, and similar things happen at such a small scale that this special microscope will give scientists a new vision in helping see just how these organisms work in their natural environment.
“Observing these processes though is a tricky business. The rapidly changing water currents, temperature, oxygen levels, and acidity have so far made studies on this scale impossible in their natural environment,” according to a BBC article by Robert Thompson. This microscope was designed to combat these problems, according a person working on the microscope, Dr. Tali Treibetz. “We are imaging the organism in its natural environment which is very complex and difficult to recreate in the lab,” she said in an interview with the BBC.
The microscope consists of shape changing lens made from a flexible membrane filled with fluid. By applying electricity the shape of the lens could be changed. Focused LED light ensured the marine life was well lit. This is great news for oceanic researchers and scientists, as things like coral in particular are in danger in lots of parts of the world’s oceans. Hopefully this technology will lead to further advances in saving our largest natural resources.