Microscopy workshop associated with the 11th International Polychaete Conference was held on Saturday 3rd August by Sue Lindsay of Microscopy and Microanalysis Unit at the Australian Museum. The course was attended by 17 delegates of the 11th International Polychaete Conference, both graduate students and senior researchers from several countries.

This informal workshop illustrated techniques of photographing small preserved polychaetes and tricks of the trade, such as the variety of backgrounds and lighting options, used to really portray their characters.

The Microscopy and Microanalysis unit at the Australian Museum has an Olympus BX50 with Spot CCD and auto-montage software, Leica MZ16 with Spot CCD and auto-montage software. The use of auto–montage facilitates creating 3 dimensional images of these soft bodied worms and as a result, a really good photograph can replace a traditional line drawing.

Sue also demonstrated how to photograph chaetae. Some time was spent discussing the options of mounting polychaetes for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the ability of the Zeiss LS15 SEM to focus in on these animals and to photograph particular characters.

Over the years Sue has had a lot of practice in photographing polychaetes, often dealing with material not in the best condition, but important type material which needs to be examined and she was able to give the participants some very useful tips.

Overheard at lunch was requests for critical point drying of small fragile polydorids by Carol Simon who is staying on after the conference to work on our collections. I am sure that others will be contacting Sue in the future for help.

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