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3-D Underwater Microscope

August 15, 2013

Scientists are testing a new 3-D underwater microscope to study tiny marine predators.



Monsters of the Deep 3-D. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A world of microscopic zooplankton as seen through 3-D glasses. (Susanne Bard)

Chances are, that summer blockbuster you saw this weekend was shot in 3-D. But don 3-D glasses aboard the oceanographic research vessel New Horizons, and the movies are just as action-packed. Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Jules Jaffe and his team are testing their new underwater 3-D microscope. It allows them to observe life-and-death struggles between tiny predators and prey.

JULES JAFFE (Scripps Institution of Oceanography):

So everybody remembers Jurassic Park. You know? We had these raptors, and what were the raptors? They were the guys with the talons, you know, they’d rip their prey apart. Well, we have these kinds of organisms in the ocean. By blowing these things up in three dimensions, we can start to get a feeling for what is this environment, what are the dynamics of it, and how do these things move, and it’s extremely insightful.


Jaffe’s team hopes to eventually lower the 3-D microcope deep into the ocean. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.