Over the past few weeks I have been learning the art of Electron Microscopy. As many of the characteristics Bryozoologists use to identify Bryozoa species are smaller than a millimetre in size highly magnified images can reveal hidden pores and spines. Our binocular light microscopes can magnify up to 50x magnification but a Scanning Electron Microscope can produce images which are over 1000x magnification.
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Last month the V Factor team took part in the Natural History Museum's annual Science Uncovered event.
An evening where researchers and museum staff come out from behind the lab bench and chat to visitors about their favourite specimens, latest findings or exciting new discoveries
It was a great evening, with more than 100 potential volunteers signing up for next year’s V Factor collaboration (and we don’t even know what we will be working on yet!).
The V Factor team are very excited to have been featured in the Natural History Museum's Evolve magazine, if you have a copy make sure you check out page 16.
The V Factor team had a great bank holiday weekend at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival spreading the word about our project and hopefully inspiring a future generation of Bryozoologists.
V factor is taking a week off this week, but we thought you might like to see the beautiful embroidered wall hangings the ladies at the Blackheath Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild kindly made for us. They have made hangings for each of the V Factor collaborations so far.
Last week we bade farewell to our current group of brilliant V Factor volunteers. They have worked extremely hard to record data from our scallop shell collection. They have successfully photographed and identified bryozoan colonies. Their photos will be used to a make a key which will help future groups of volunteers with ID work.
This is the penultimate week of our second 10-week collaboration. We challenged our volunteers to guess how long different types of litter take to decompose.
A lively debate ensued.
This week our volunteers are learning about ocean acidification. Using just red cabbage juice, saltwater and a straw we demonstrated how Carbon Dioxide (CO2) increases the acidity of sea water.
We are now well underway with our great bunch of new volunteers working on this biggest ever investigation into Bryozoans inhabiting the coast of the British Isles.
The first week was mainly taken up with sorting out IDs, pass cards, passwords etc. as well as familiarisation about health and safety, how the museum operates and an introduction to Bryozoans from curator Mary.