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Mascara-ti! A rare Egyptian plankton

I have started my journey in microscopy. Microscopy is taking pictures with microscopes. Last summer I worked with a TARA scientist in Dublin and with friends from the Skirball Institute,  Ben Bartel and Andrea Gomez, as well as with members of the newly formed public biosynthetic laboratory in Brooklyn, Genspace. In January 2011, I had the incredible opportunity to collect plankton in an oasis in Egypt’s Sahara Desert, just 30 miles from the Libyan border. The oasis was called Siwa and has a fairly large salt lake which is as salty as the Dead Sea. The salt lake has been separated from the ocean for tens of thousands of years. Because of its high salt content I had no idea what I would find. Behold! One of the most beautiful plankton yet. We named her Mascarati, because of her long Mascara-like body parts. Picture taken with a confocal microscope by Andrea Gomez. There is a good chance no one has ever seen a plankton like this before. Isn’t she gorgeous?