Description: I grabbed a small handful of sand from just below the tide line at Bird Shoal (on the North Carolina coast) and found myriad forams of various kinds. Foraminifera are protists ( Although they are single celled organisms, many of them make very complex shells with multiple chambers. When I first learned about them, I thought they'd be hard to find, but they are actually quite easy to find with a low power microscope such as a dissecting microscope.

These ones are in sand with constant waves (although it is fairly protected at that site, so the waves are fairly small). I would expect them to get well worn and broken frequently, yet they keep their fine surface texture quite well (which is not so apparent in the attached image). I did notice that some of them seemed to cling, although only lightly, to the sand grains. Perhaps that stabilizes the area around them enough to protect them? Or perhaps they just repair quickly?

The attached image was based on a sequence of images at different focal depths, taken with an Olympus SZX7 dissecting microscope. The images were combined into a single image in focus at multiple depths, using plugins in Image J ("StackReg" and "Extended Depth Of Field"). Then the levels were adjusted and the image was sharpened in Photoshop.

Note: there are a few objects that I'm not sure are forams (not counting the sand grains), but the chambered spirals definitely are.

Page creator's name: Mickey von Dassow
Page creator's contact info: Use IGoR contact page

biology forams protists

Created: 03 Jun 2014 05:38
Updated: 09 Jun 2014 23:11


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