Researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, led by oceanographer Jules Jaffe, have developed a new type of underwater microscope that would enable researchers to study important biological processes in the natural settings. Often, researchers have to remove organisms from underwater and take them to labs in order to study them. In this process, a lot of information is lost. Thus, the team developed the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM), which has a high magnification lens, a ring of focused LED lights for fast exposures, fluorescence imaging capabilities, and a flexible tunable lens to change focus for viewing structures in 3-D. The BUM consists of an underwater computer with a diver interface tethered to a microscopic imaging unit. It is the first underwater microscope that is capable of imaging ecological processes taking place under water at microscopic level. The researchers successfully used the microscope to conduct experiments in the Red Sea and made novel observations about algal colonization.
Read more in Science Daily.