The interactive Microscope Exhibit has long been a favourite attraction in the Two Oceans Aquarium's Skretting Diversity Gallery. A dream of the volunteers who operate this exhibit has always been to upgrade the old digital microscope to a new one that would allow them to "freeze" images of interesting things they saw to show visitors - after all, even microscopic animals move very quickly.
Thanks to Dr Rob Smith, a long-time Aquarium volunteer (who has, in fact, been here since 1998 - volunteering alongside our CEO in the Aquarium's early days), this dream of an expensive, high-end microscope became a reality!
Capturing scenes like the one above, a red-chested sea cucumber stuffing its face with yummy plankton, is now a reality. The new Leica microscope offers improved magnification, allows streaming of high definition images to screens at the Microscope Exhibit and allows the capture of images and videos. This means that we get to share our findings online with you too!
Things with tentacles
In the small world, if an animal wants to pick something up or snag a meal, it usually needs to use tentacles. The Microscope Exhibit reveals some of these tiny tentacled wonders below.
Things with spikes
Spikes, or spines, are nature's most resource efficient armour. No animal epitomises spikes better than the sea urchin - but the new microscope reveals that there is more to these "simple" animals than meets the naked eye.
Delving deeper into this tiny world, we begin to reveal species of animal that normally escape our notice. At the Microscope Exhibit, you'll see tiny animals that live amongst the holdfasts of the kelp forests on the Cape's coast.
Finally, the new microscope also reveals the hidden beauty in mundane objects. From old seashells to seaweed fronds, marvellous patterns and intricacies are waiting to be discovered.
Which microscopic marvel are you most eager to see in this new light? Take a look at what else is waiting to be discovered on your next visit to our Skretting Diversity Gallery.