New Rotating Microscope to Study Microscopic Ocean Life
Microscopic plankton’s daily journey between the ocean’s depths and surface holds the key to understanding crucial planetary processes, but has remained largely a mystery. Until now. A new Stanford-developed rotating microscope, outlined in a study published in Nature Methods, offers for the first time a way to track and measure these enigmatic microorganisms’ behaviors and molecular processes as they undertake their daily vertical migrations.
“This is a completely new way of studying life in the ocean,” said study first author Deepak Krishnamurthy, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student at Stanford.
The innovation could provide a new window into the secret life of ocean organisms and ecosystems, said study senior author Manu Prakash, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford. “It opens scientific possibilities we had only dreamed of until now.”