Online Microscopy Platform
See-through for Everyone!
- von Birte Vierjahn
Fix the slide, adjust, start with the lowest magnification and then focus through the specimen: This routine is particularly familiar to biology students from microscopy classes. Now, the process also works digitally. More than 200 specimens of plants, animals and microorganisms can be viewed in detail online – without a microscope, free of charge and accessible to everyone. A biologist at the UDE is making this possible with his project UDE BioSLiDES.
"During the pandemic, we were looking for a way to conduct our faculty's microscopy courses online. The experience we gained was the starting point for UDE BioSLiDES," says Dr. Michael Kloster from the UDE Phycology (Algae Science) working group, who is responsible for the project.
Water flea, strawberry mint, diatoms, flat-leaved vanilla: Almost 80 species can currently be found in the unique platform for virtual digital microscopy, with more to follow. One can focus through the high-resolution specimens just like on a microscope, in order to see details in sharp focus that are located in different layers. Additional information about the specimens provides biological background. Downloading is also no problem, as UDE BioSLiDES makes its digital preparations available as an Open Educational Resource – a total of over 800 GB of image data. Access as well as further use is free of charge. "The fact that there are so many specimens in the database that can be handled in a realistic way and are free to use is, to the best of our knowledge, unique in the world," explains the biologist.
The service, which has just been launched, is intended for education at schools and universities worldwide, with all its contents available in both German and English. Anyone twelve years of age or older can access information about the selected organism, its anatomy, and the preparation and the microscope optics used. It all works right in the browser, without the need for an app or an add-on program.
Image: Cross section through the petiole of a royal fern in 20x magnification. The diameter is about 3 mm.
Original Publication (German only): https://www.biuz.de/index.php/biuz/article/view/6410/5778
Editor: Birte Vierjahn, +49 203/37 9-2427, firstname.lastname@example.org