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Spike (M.I.) Walker

Mixed Diatoms

English photomicrographer Spike (M.I.) Walker has been a consistent winner of the Nikon Small World competition for many years and has published many articles and a book about microscopy. Featured below is a photomicrograph of an arranged diatom specimen taken with polarizing interference illumination.

Mixed diatoms

Photomicrograph of mixed diatoms, from an arranged group by Schrader. A Zeiss 10x/0.22 NA polarizing interference objective was used to produce this Jamin-Lebedeff image. Differences in optical wave path are translated into color differences. Illumination was provided by a 12-volt 100-watt lamp utilizing a Zeiss Ultraphot IIIB microscope with 35 millimeter automatic photohead. Photographed with Fujichrome Velvia. (63x)

Diatoms are single-celled algae of the phylum Bacillariophyta and are found in all the Earth's oceans. One of the most prolific sea organisms, the nearly 16,000 species of this group form a significant portion of the aquatic food chain. Diatom cell walls are composed of silica fashioned into a myriad of beautiful geometrical shapes and patterns. Diatomaceous earth, a substance composed of fossil diatoms, is used for making filters, insulation, abrasives, paints, and varnishes.


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