Freshwater ciliate Colpidium campylum (400x)
These are freshwater ciliates of the species Colpidium campylum, characterized by its kidney-shaped cell. The cilia of this protozoan are arranged in rows, and inside you can see the two nuclei that are characteristic of many other ciliates, a more or less central macronucleus, and one micronucleus, slightly smaller.
Because it feeds on bacteria, Colpidium campylum is a microorganism involved in the process of self-purification of water. When the concentration of bacteria is very high in the water, and consequently food is abundant, the population of this protozoan multiplies. So, this species is regarded as a test-microorganism and is used in bioassays with a broad range of applications for single toxicants and contaminant mixtures, such as effluents.
[Protozoa - Ciliophora - Hymenostomatida - Tetrahymenidae - Colpidium - Colpidium campylum Stokes]
Technique: Interference Contrast.
Photo credit: ©Proyecto Agua | Locality: from a water sample collected in the Ebro river as it passes through Logroño river, La Rioja, Spain (2008)
Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)
Keep an eye on flowers at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin during the months of early May and August and you just might spy a Karner blue! This beautiful endangered species is only about the size of a quarter. Its pale blue markings of the male butterfly make it stand out among the purple lupine flowers that bloom in April.
The refuge is home to the world’s largest population of this butterfly thanks in part due to its abundance of the wild lupine plants on which the butterfly is entirely dependent. Check them out on the Lupine Loop Trail.
Photo: Anna Muñoz/USFWS
Into Deepest Space: The Birth of the ALMA Observatory is an independent documentary about the hardships and eventual achievements of all those involved with ALMA from conception to implementation.
“It’s so far beyond any [existing] capability in the millimeter domain," said astronomer Ethan Schreier, president of Associated Universities Inc., which oversaw North America’s contribution to ALMA. "There’s nothing that will compete with this for a very long time. When you introduce a totally new capability, you always discover new things that you don’t predict." [source]
A decade in the making, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array was built atop the Chajnantor plateau (16,570 feet (5,050 meters) above sea level) in order to provide the clearest window to the universe. ALMA will reveal early galaxy formation and peer beyond the interstellar/planetary dust clouds hiding planetary formation in action. A product of North America, Europe, and East Asia with the cooperation of Chile, this is what happens when you collaborate effectively across artificial borders for the sake of exploration and discovery. The dishes themselves weigh around 100 tons each, comprised of ultra-stable CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) for the reflector base, possessing reflecting panels of rhodium-coated nickel.
ALMA will observe in millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths (submillimeter light has slightly shorter wavelengths than millimeter light, whose wavelengths are measured in millimeters). These ranges fall along the boundary between the radio and microwave bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, with longer wavelengths than optical light. This band of light allows astronomers to probe into the dark cores of gas clouds to study star and planet formation, and to collect distant light that’s been shifted toward the red end of the spectrum.
The electronic detector or, “front end” that amplifies/converts the radio waves collected per each antenna must be stabilized at 4 degrees Kelvin (- 452 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 269 degrees Celsius) for prevention of introducing noise to the signal. It’s a pristine engineering feat. Costing $1.4 billion (split across North America, Europe, and East Asia), whereby $500 million was contributed by U.S. taxpayers. [source]
The acronym ALMA was provided due to the Spanish meaning of the Italian word Alma, meaning “soul.” The Atacama Millimeter/submillimeter Array was designated its name because the astronomers/astrophysicists state the observatory will peer into stars’ souls.
“Every single field you can think of, from our solar system to star formation of all masses in our galaxy and nearby galaxies, to even detecting light from the first stars that formed…I don’t think there’s any field of astronomy that will remain untouched by the advent of ALMA.”
— Dr. Crystal Brogan, Astronomer, National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)
Tomas’ Worm Salamander - Oedipina tomasi
Definitely salamanders of the genus Oedipina are one of my favorites, don’t you think they look charming with her long body, its very short limbs, and tiny webbed feet?. Besides, as all other plethodontids, they lack lungs and breathe through their skin. Top it off, they lack aquatic larvae and hatch as miniature adults from eggs laid on land or terrestrial vegetation.
This is Oedipina tomasi (Plethodontidae), a Critically Endangered species only known from The Cusuco National Park in Honduras.
Photo credit: ©Andrew Snyder | Locality: Cusuco National Park, Honduras (2010)