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A picture’s worth…how much???

July 10, 2010


A molting soil nematode isolated from the Ventura College orchard.


So, how much is a picture worth? Well, if you have been trying to get digital cameras for your microscopes (like I have), then, $2.5 million.

Thanks to the $2.5 million CCRAA-HSI U.S. Department of Education grant Ventura College received (affectionately referred to as the STEM grant), the Department of Agriculture was able to use a portion of that money to secure digital cameras compatible with their new PrimoStar microscopes. This will allow students in the fields of Agriculture and Plant Biology to document isolates (say nematodes as shown here, pollen, protozoans, or mycorrhiza) and then use the digital stills they obtain for taxonomy or illustration purposes.

Personally, I’ve always been embarrassed by my poor microscopy sketches. I’m a terrible artist and my renderings are quite poor. While I appreciate that careful observation is a fundamental and requisite science skill, artistic talent was never a requirement in my science classes, which is good else I wouldn’t have passed!

Anyway, these cameras also produce videos but this site won’t allow me to post videos (at least not for free). I have a video of a different soil nematode who is also molting so you can see the little critter thrashing around trying to get out of his skinny jeans! If you want to check it out, I have it posted elsewhere.

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