Cold Feet

A Teacher's Tale

Nov 2008

Tardigrades revealed!

I was invited to the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge at half term to see how Sandra McInnes had progressed with extracting some creatures from our samples. I have been champing at the bit for months to know what I had brought back from the Ellsworth mountains but I appreciate that Pete Convey and Sandra McInnes have their own jobs to do before they can look at my collected materials. Sandra took the chance to make a first attempt before the lichen samples were sent away for formal identification.
The first fruits of her hard work are a few examples of an Echiniscid species of tardigrade (not unexpected) as well as one of the big predatory Milnesium sp. as well. A few rotifers were found in a dormant/collapsed condition. Sandra managed this feat with tiny samples nibbled from the edges of lichen samples currently sent to Norway for definitive identification by Dag Øvstedal (whose brilliant book, Lichens of Antarctica and South Georgia - co-written with Ronald Lewis Smith - was my constant companion in Antarctica). When we finally know exactly what we have found it will be fascinating to see if it throws any light on the limited knowledge that we have at the moment. The pictures are attached with grateful acknowledgment to Sandra McInnes.

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The big predatory Milnesium at X40 (and in rather poor shape after his journey back!)

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Echiniscid at X40

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Bdelloid rotifer at X40