Seeing the small

This is the second episode of Ocean Gazing, the podcast where we observe and explore the oceans on our planet.

This time we’ll hear about a special underwater camera that takes pictures of tiny cells in the ocean.  Heidi Sosik and Rob Olson, biologists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will describe how a shared frustration led them to develop a tool that has revolutionized how the ecology of the ocean is studied.

Sosik recalls, “We literally had millions of cell images.  We were just absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of data that we got.  It was exciting, but kind of intimidating.”

Stay tuned.



Schematic of the Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory. Credit: Jayne Doucette, WHOI.

Rob Olson prepares the camera system for testing in the sea.

Rob Olson and Heidi Sosik developed an automated underwater microscopic camera that takes photographs of phytoplankton in the ocean. Credit: Tom Kleindinst, WHOI.

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Education Standards

National Science Education Standards Grade 5 to 8

National Science Education Standards Grade 9 to 12

Ocean Literacy Principles

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To submit a question to Heidi and Rob or to send in your guess for the Sonic Stumper, you can:

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Seeing the small

One Comment

  1. Thank you for the great story! After spending all-nighters sorting samples in a small ship’s lab, rocking and rolling, yet trying to stay focused, I can certainly appreciate automation!!