James E D Cline's Online Photos for Friends and Family

JEDC's Volunteering Activities... page updated on 2003 07 04

At Marine Biodiversity Processing Center wet-room, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Activity: Volunteer work processing seafloor core samples taken by remote operated deep-sea robots, picking and sorting foraminerifa, and associated digital microscope photography of small marine specimens, for a Marine Biology research project to measure population density of various species along deep sea canyon slopes at different depths.


The fume hood here, and the blue nitrile gloves, are needed while working with the specimens preserved in formalin solution and when staining with Bengal Red dye which bonds only to protein, making specimens easier to find among the debris from the seafloor core samples.


Here I work at microscope sorting foraminifera.


A sample of what I see through the microscope; the red object on left is a foraminifera ("foram") sp. epistomella that I would then pick using a tiny artist brush as a picker, and put it on the specimen tray. To take this photo and the one below, I put my own digital camera up to the eyepiece.


Two foraminifera, a globubulina and an epistomella, also as seen in the microscope; around the edges of the field of view here are other objects to be examined so as to gather all the forams. The red color was due to a soak in solution using Bengal Red which only stains proteins.


I show up to do more volunteer work in the wet room of the marine biodiversity Processing Center, under the old part of the museum, to process more sea floor core samples for forams. The 2 x 3 - hour city rides on the city bus system, which makes this volunteer work feasible for me, to/from home to here already have made it a long day by time I've arrived at the museum.


Lab coat on, sample sieved and ready to be sorted, camera documents the more interesting forams I find.


Here is what it looks like from above.The plastic dish with the light shining on it, has the microscope left eyepiece visible and the digital camera is attached to the right eyepiece.


View from a different angle. Several groups and personnel and projects use this facility, and the materials distributed around reflect the many things done in this room, besides what I do.The fume hood in the background 


My hand is on a plexiglass assembly that is used as a sample "splitter", into which a sample is poured and washed down through, and it does a semi-random division into roughly equal parts. This can be done several times to get samples that are, 1/4, 1/8/ 1/16 of original, and make a sample with a huge number of specimens into something that can be picked through in a reasonable day's work.


Sorting through a bulk sample that has been sifted to select only material that is 150 to 63 um in size (looks like the dust that gathers on furniture, is so small), required trimming the finest tiny brush I could find, which then worked fine for gently snagging each specimen found, for placing on the slide holder for future use. As to why my camera sometimes has this blue tint is unknown to me, but it fits the patient careful precision mood of this task. The window in background is at ground level and looks out onto the Los Angeles Exposition Park Rose Garden; nice memories.


Dr. Elena, the researcher for whom I have done this volunteer work on forams, gave me a souvenier cap, showing the emblem of the deap-sea Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) named "Jason" which gathered some of the seafloor samples from which I have processed, picked and sorted the forams.


Closeup of the cap's woven emblem which is a fairly detailed graphic of the ROV Jason.

Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.