A laboratory with fantastic views, situated on the 5th floor of the Mellor Building at Staffordshire University, was the superb venue for a dip into the fascinating microscopic world of phytoplankton and zooplankton. A big thanks to Dave Skingsley who not only provided the room but also numerous light microscopes and a scope hooked up to some fantastic digital imaging equipment. Unfortunately, I saw no opportunity of whipping into my bag when he wasn’t looking!!!

Pediastrum duplex. A green colonial species.

After an introductory natter, the group pressed on examining samples from 12 Cheshire water bodies including sites ranging from the acidic Blakemore Moss to an ornamental pond. Members also had a good look at their own samples which they had brought in, seeing many things for the first time living in their back gardens!!! The impact of few fish in sites such as the nature pond in the Crewe Business Park was very obvious with this site supporting a vast diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton species. It was great to see so much live material buzzing around in about half a ml of water!!!

The diverse nature pond in Crewe Business Park