The Micro Dimension - come to Mortehoe and experience it for yourself.........

On Wednesday 24 August, there will be a free microscope workshop at Mortehoe Village Hall at which
members of Coastwise North Devon will share their enthusiasm, experience and microscopes with everyone who drops in.  Children should be accompanied.  The workshop will be open between 10.30 am and 3.30 pm and you can stay for as long as you like.  Do come along, this is a rare opportunity and will change the way you view the world.

Marine life is best seen under water but that’s not always easy unless you’re a diver.  But we borrow some local seaweed with its cargo of tiny animals for the workshop for you to view under the microscope, close up and in comfort, doing what they do naturally, albeit in a drop or two of water.  There will be several microscopes to study the samples with help on hand, and you will be encouraged to share your finds with others.  Identification is difficult, We have guide books to help.  There will be film clips made by members and we will take some live images from a digital microscope.  

The microscopes are low magnification, which provides the best introduction to small shore animals.  They have been purchased with a small grant from the North Devon Coasts AONB, and will later be donated to the three centres hosting our microscope workshops this summer: Northam Burrows and Combe Martin Museum, whose workshops were held in May  as part of the AONB’s Discovery Days, and Mortehoe on 24th August.

Usually the animals we can see down the scope are invisible to the naked eye, at less than a few millimeters in size, but when a small fragment of the weed is viewed under the scope some such as sea spiders and a whole variety of shrimp-like creatures will emerge.   Others can be spotted sheltering amongst the fronds, usually feeding or avoiding becoming food – keelworms using their feathery tentacles to feed (picture by Jim Monroe), a sea slug feeding on byozoan (Polycera quadrilineata), small worms writhing, or Hydroids that startle you by waving their tentacles or suddenly bowing their large heads, despite their plant-like appearance.

Contact  for more information, and ss The Weekly Essay, North Devon Journal, 11 August 2011.  Our 10 week autumn programme of Thursday morning sessions starts again on 6 October, with a talk about some of the smallest animals of all, plankton by popular biologist and broadcaster Tegwyn Harris.

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