The Microscopy and Image Analysis Facility at BIOS consists of an Olympus AX 70 microscope equipped with a Retiga Exi digital camera and Image Pro Plus 7.0 software. This equipment enables various users to perform state-of-the-art analysis at the cellular level. This facility is essential for undertaking fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) and catalyzed reporter deposition Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH) analyses as part of the Microbial Ecology Laboratory. This facility is also used for bacterial and archaeal abundance measurements as well as nanoplankton and picoplankton identification and enumeration as part of the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS). Rachel Parsons, the Research Specialist responsible for this facility, has used the microscope in a variety of projects including viral dynamics at the BATS site, microbial communities within a seasonally anoxic sound, coral-microbe interactions and the effect of sewage pollution on coral reef environments. She is currently using this facility to investigate how the microbial community adapts to biogeochemical changes within the twilight zone of the Atlantic Ocean and how the microbial community adapts to oxygen limitation during periods of summer stratification at Devil’s Hole, Bermuda.
Other programs at BIOS use this facility, including the Molecular Discovery Laboratory that measures apoptosis, cell division and specific signs of aging in sea urchin tissues using epifluorescent microscopy. BIOS-SCOPE, a new project investigating microbial interactions within the Sargasso Sea, will use this facility to investigate bacterioplankton (bacteria and archaea) dynamics in response to dissolved organic carbon sources in order to better understand the annual biogeochemical cycling of carbon in the ocean. In addition, visiting scientists have used this facility for polychaete worm identification, plankton identification, viral enumeration and image capture along with bacterioplankton abundance measurements. Since 2011, 31 visiting scientists have utilized this facility for individual or collaborative research.
Additionally, this facility also supports a range of BIOS educational programs:
• Ocean Academy has used this facility to quantify the number of microbes found in bottled drinking water.
• The Ocean and Human Health course uses this facility to quantify microbial abundance in samples from inshore waters.
• Since 2011, 105 students and interns as part of the Bermuda Program, the NSF-sponsored REU program, and the summer internship programs at BIOS have used this facility for their research projects. Interns have used the facility to to study the microbial communities associated with sponges, as well as the affects of ocean acidification, changing oxygen levels and nutrient enrichment on the microbial community.