Aeolosoma hemprichi

Web Microscopy Resources
Here is a list of useful resources for microscopy on the web, with a few books included. They range from beginner's level up to professional and research information. This list will be updated and added to, so check back for new resources.

New to Microscopes?

Frequently Asked Questions about Compound Light Microscopes by Carl Hunsinger. This is a very complete, 67 page, pdf file you may read online or download from Carl’s Google Drive folder. It answers a huge range of questions for beginners and seasoned amateurs alike. Carl updates it frequently with new or additional information. Carl is also an expert on the maintenance and restoration of Olympus BH-2 series microscopes: … 9XXbC/view

Imaging the Hidden WorldA nice introductory video on using the light microscope. This is a 1984 educational movie by Bruce Russell, now hosted by, and lasts about 15 minutes:

Wikipedia has a nice page on microscopy:

Understanding the Light Microscope by Peter Evennett: This is a very, very nice tutorial and demonstration about how the light microscope works. It lasts 1hr, 18min. He uses a modified microscope, along with video cameras and a monitor, not ray-trace drawings, to explain how the images are formed. This one is a must see. I wish I had seen this years ago. Peter, who is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, just received the RMS President’s Award for service in microscopical education, and to the Society. This is not for a very young audience. Middle school and up probably.

Here is a free, downloadable pdf on the Basics of Light Microscopy and Imaging. Written by Olympus experts in the field, it is a special edition of Imaging and Microscopy, and is a comprehensive overview of the subject. It’s too complicated for the youngest audiences, but high school students and up  should find at least parts of it very informative and useful. It does include detailed descriptions of high-end research techniques as well. I liked my copy enough I printed it out and had it spiral bound as a reference:

Here is a Micscape article on choosing and buying a microscope: 

Getting the best out of a basic microscopeHere’s a nice, downloadable pdf article, published in the November 2019 issue of Micscape, This is excellent for beginners:

Robert Burdan, ( has published a nice article on purchasing a microscope. The article touches on a broad range of microscopes and specimens, and has a very comprehensive list of microscopy resources at the end. Lots of tips on using a microscope, excellent micrographs, and examples of the types of specimens to look at:

Olympus resources for K-12 microscopy and science sites

Beginner's and Amateur's Books from Micscape that might be useful

Microscopy as a Hobby – A 21st Century Quick Start Guide. By Mol Smith ISBN: 9781500301651.        Written for children and adults. Provides a nice introduction to basic microscopy as a hobby. It works for students and teachers, too. About $21.50 (Amazon prices fluctuate according to demand)

Pippa’s Progress: First Adventures With a Microscope for Children. ISBN: 9781500951542. By Mol Smith There is nice on-line video with Pippa to go with it. She is 12 years old, and acts as guide. Written for 6-12 year olds. About $24.00


For those of you on Facebook, check out the Amateur Microscopy group. Lots of nice photos of a huge range of subjects, and great information for beginners to advanced amateurs. Even some professional microscopists post there:

YouTube Channels

This is the YouTube channel for Journey to the Microcosmos. This is an outstanding, and ongoing, series on microorganisms. Extraordinary photomicrography, with narrated explanations of the organisms discussed, and their lifestyles. This is one of the best microscopy YouTube channels available. It’s good enough I even donate to them through Patreon!

Microbehunter YouTube Channel: Microbe Hunter is a channel devoted to beginner and educational microscopy. There are actually four channels total. Very well done, they covers a myriad of subjects on basic microscopy. The owner of all of the channels and the forum, Oliver, has a Master of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Vienna, Austria, and is a Biology teacher in Europe.

Microbehunter Microscopy is the microscope advice channel to go with Microbehunter

Microbehunter’s All Things Microbes is where all of your microscopy questions are answered:

Microbehunter’s Microscopic Mysteries is where Oliver delves into microscopic mysteries to see what the pictures actually show:

My YouTube channel ID: I have several nice microscopy videos including a Nikon Small World in Motion Honorable Mention winner shot and uploaded in 4k, with more to be added. If you visit, please Subscribe so I can get enough subscribers to get a custom URL for the site!

Protist Lab Films: Very nice videos of various kinds of Protists (Protozoa). Fabian Weston, the owner of the channel, won the 2021 Nikon Small World in Motion video contest with a video of termite gut protozoa.

Jam’s Germs is a website from the Master of Microscopes for Journey to the Microcosmos YouTube series, James Weiss. Excellent microscopy videos. Mr. Weiss has just recently (September 2022) been credited, along with Professor Genoveva Esteban of Bournemouth University, with discovering several new species of microorganisms.

The research paper was published in the journal Protist with the title: The Extraordinarily Rare Ciliate Legendrea loyezae Fauré-Fremiet, 1908 (Haptoria, Ciliophora) It is currently available from this link as a freely downloadable PDF.

YouTube Videos

Journey to the Microcosmos has produced this extraordinary slow motion protozoa video. Shot in 4k, using DIC (Differential Interference Contrast) and 240 frames per second so it’s slowed down 800%, it’s one of the most visually stunning and highly detailed videos I’ve ever watched. James Weiss, also the owner of the YouTube Channel Jam’s Germs is the videographer and microscopist. Definitely Nikon Small World in Motion quality:

My Adventures in Teenyworld is a Hungarian video tour (with English subtitles) of a trip to numerous lakes and rivers in Hungary showing some of the microscopic life forms that live there.

A Boy And His Atom: IBM Research produced this little stop-motion movie as a technology demonstration. It shows Carbon Monoxide molecules being moved around on a copper sheet to produce the video’s animation. These are actual molecules being moved about. The magnification is about 100 million times. IBM used a scanning tunneling microscope to acquire the images and manipulate the molecules. Here is a video about how it was done:

Diatom Web Academy: Diatoms 101 is a nice video introduction to diatoms in general, and is on YouTube. Diatom Web Academy is a production of, and has numerous other webinars on the subject of diatoms. Most, however, provide fairly high level information and may not be suitable for younger audiences. The link is to the 2022 series, but it includes links to the 2020 and 2021 webinars on YouTube or the Diatom Web Academy website as well.

50,000,000x Magnification:  This is a very nice video from AlphaPhoenix, using a STEM, or Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope where he goes through the steps necessary to image a very small piece of semi-conductor material looking for a particular manufacturing defect. This is a relatively new technique in material science where you can actually resolve and image individual atoms and crystal structures. Probably not for younger audiences, but you do get a sense of actually doing the science as he shot the video while he was doing the work.

Fungus: The Third Kingdom Not plants or animals, fungi are a kingdom of their own. Likely the original life on Earth, fungi are so completely intertwined with our existence as to nearly defy imagination. Here is a very well done video explaining not only the origins of fungi, but the ways in which they allowed life to move from the oceans onto the land. The video also explores the myriad interactions of plant and animal life with fungi, and their relationship with human foods and disease. This video is well worth watching, and is even suitable for younger audiences.

Professional YouTube Lectures and Videos

Royal Microscopical Society Imaging ONEWORLD Series, Oct 22, 2021: This is a YouTube recording of a webinar given by Electron Microscopist Dr. Lucy Collinson of the Francis Crick Institute in England. It covers cutting edge research imaging techniques for Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM). This is not an amateur presentation, but one designed for researchers. It is an excellent presentation on the current (2021) state of the art. Students and advanced amateurs can benefit from her descriptions of the range of methods in use. Highly recommended! Imaging ONEWORLD Series – 11 Oct 2021 – Lucy Collinson – YouTube

Royal Microscopical Society as part of the International Microscopy Lecture Series on November 22, 2021, Professor Joachim Frank, who shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work developing Cryo-Electron Microscopy. This is his lecture: Cryo-EM of Biomolecules – A Cold Look at the Building Blocks of Life:

Royal Microscopical Society Imaging ONEWORLD Series, Apr 1, 2022: This is a YouTube recording of a webinar given by Christian Wilms from Scientifica Ltd. It covers cutting edge research imaging techniques for three photon microscopy. This is not an amateur presentation, but one designed for researchers. It is an excellent presentation on the current (2022) state of the art. Students and advanced amateurs can benefit from his descriptions of the range of methods in use. Highly recommended! Imaging ONEWORLD Series – 1 Apr 2022 – Christian Wilms – YouTube

Royal Microscopical Society Imaging ONEWORLD Series, Apr 29, 2022: This is a YouTube recording of a webinar given by Dr. Shalin Mehta from the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub. Although this is not an amateur presentation, but  instead one designed for researchers, it can still provide useful information on state-of-the-art methodologies. Entitled Quantitative label-free imaging of spatio-angular architecture,  it provides a detailed overview of current methods for obtaining high resolution images of cellular components without using fluorescent dyes or other staining techniques. The methods are suitable for live cell imaging:

Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 over 2+ years: Not exactly microscopy, but a very nice video from Vaughn Cooper, Ph.D., an Evolutionary Biologist and Microbiologist at the University of Pittsburg.  It’s intended for a general scientific audience, and is suitable for High School and College audiences as well. It explains the complex evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2 over the last couple of years. From March 23, 2022, and originally announced on a American Society for Microbiology professional email list:

Taking Care of Your Microscope

Olympus BH-2 series microscope cleaning, maintenance and restoration. This is a YouTube channel by Carl Hunsinger that goes into great detail on the maintenance and restoration of this wonderful series of microscopes. I’ve watched every one of these videos and can vouch for their clear and thorough presentation. I’ve used this information to maintain my own microscopes:

Reality Check for the following methods: You will notice that all of the manufacturers have different methods of cleaning microscope optics. The solvents they recommend are somewhere between difficult and impossible for most students and amateurs to obtain. I’ve used 70% – 90% Isopropyl Alcohol successfully for many years. Use a reversed eyepiece or 10x magnifier to examine the surface of the lens first to see where the dirt or contamination is, if there is any. Use an air blower first (NOT CANNED AIR) to blow off any dust or dirt. Then distilled  or deionized (DI) water can be used initially. Or you may simply exhale onto the lens surface to provide moisture.

Only use small amounts of whatever solvent you are using. Don’t flood objectives or eyepieces with solvent. Just wet the Q-tip or lens tissue with a little bit. If using lens tissue, twist it up into a little wad and use that. Do NOT use lens tissue flat with your fingertip as you run a high risk of pushing and dirt into the lens surface or coating and scratching it. While newly manufactured objectives should be pretty well sealed, it is possible given enough time or a failed seal, for the solvent to leak into the objective probably ruining it. Sometimes oil immersion lenses will leak oil into the inside. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does the objective is ruined.

70% Isopropyl Alcohol will likely leave a thin film residue on the lens that can be seen with the reversed eyepiece and reflected light. It may be cleaned off easily with moisture or DI water. 90% Isopropyl Alcohol is preferred as it leaves little to no residue. 

If the material on the lens is water soluble, as are body fluids or leftover pond water, and water alone does not remove it, a couple of drops of dish detergent may be added to 25-50 ml of DI water and the mixture used. Then afterward remove any remaining soap with clean DI water. Cotton swabs or Q-Tips may be used, and small cotton balls for eyepieces. I avoid the use of lens tissue.

The key to all this is to BE GENTLE. The coatings on microscope lenses are very fragile, and the optical glass is relatively soft and easily scratched as well. Be careful. Use two hands when removing or reattaching objectives. The angled screw threads are difficult to start, and it’s easy to drop the objective if you are not careful.

iBiology, Kurt Thorn, UCSF, How to Clean an Objective: iBiology has numerous videos on high-end research microscopy techniques.

Zeiss – Cleaning Microscope Lenses

Nikon – Cleaning Microscope Optics:

Duke University, Light Microscopy Core Facility:

Microscope Manufacturers Educational Websites

Olympus This is a very good resource for all types of microscopy. It has great explanations of very basic microscopy, all the way through very complicated research methods. There are numerous interactive Java tutorials that help explain the more difficult topics. Not written with a very young audience in mind. One of the pages however, lists a large number of resources for K-12 microscopy and science sites

Be advised that Olympus has recently rebranded its microscopy division as Evident. It is still the same information, but now under the Evident banner.

Nikon –  MicroscopyU  This site is another very good resource for all types of microscopy, from the basic to cutting edge research techniques. It too has numerous interactive Java tutorials. Not written with a very young audience in mind either, but a very complete resource nonetheless.

Nikon – MicroscopyU:  Pond Life Video Gallery Nice short videos of various types of pond life filmed in DIC and Phase Contrast. Organisms are identified by species and include most of then organisms normally found in pond water.

Zeiss Also at Florida State University, a very complete site, including the latest super resolution techniques. Lots of interactive tutorials as well. Not for very young beginners, either.

Florida State University has produced Molecular Expressions: It is another very complete site with descriptions and explanations for all types of microscopy. Again, not written with a very young audience in mind.

Microscopy Forums

Photography through the microscope This is a site where amateur and professional microscopists post some of their photographs and discuss their techniques. Some of the most amazing photomicrographs in the world are posted here. Many of the posters have won numerous awards in the Nikon Small World ( and Olympus Bioscapes ( photomicrography contests. microscopy forum is devoted to all phases of amateur microscopy. An excellent resource for students, teachers, amateurs and professionals alike:

Microscopy Websites

Nikon Small World, and Nikon Small World in Motion, still and video photomicrography competition winners: These are some of the most extraordinary photographs ever taken through a microscope. The winners range from amateurs with no real background in microscopy to researchers in cutting-edge laboratories using the most recent techniques available. I won honorable mention in the 2018 video competition with this video of Stephanoceros fimbriatus feeding:

Olympus also has a photomicrography competition: It used to be called Olympus Bioscapes, but has been renamed Global Image of the Year Competition. Unfortunately, so far, the last one was in 2019. The web page does show all of the winners so it is well worth a look.

Microbehunter Microscopy Magazine is free pdf magazine dedicated to amateur microscopy. Although no longer being updated, it’s suitable for younger audiences too. The extensive Beginner’s Guide section has answers to an extremely wide array of questions about microscopes and microscopy:

Microscopy-Uk is a British website dedicated to amateur microscopy. They publish the bi-monthly on-line “Micscape Magazine” that can be accessed from the upper left column under “Main Resources”, or directly here: :

Wim van Egmund’s site “The Smallest Page on the Web” all about the microorganisms around us. Very nice photography and descriptions. He has winning photographs in both Olympus Bioscapes and Nikon Small World Competitions:

Two excellent websites dedicated to amoeba of all kinds:

Microworld – World of amoeboid organisms:

Penard Labs

Bruce Taylor’s site is very well done, and dedicated to “Do-It-Yourself Protistology”:

A nice blog article on “schooling” or “swarming” protozoa with a discussion of amateur microscopy and Citizen Science

Microscope Safari: A nice website with videos of freshwater protozoa and other microscopic organisms
for fun, study and education. Lots of tips and tricks for collection, culturing and identification:

Microworld – Micropia: An outstanding website built for the Micropia Museum. Micropia is the first Museum of Microbes, and is in Amsterdam, Netherlands, at the Royal Zoo. The website has a wide range of information designed for students, amateurs, and the general public. Highly recommended.

As part of the Natural Science Association in Hamburg, Germany, here is a very nice collection of algae photographs by Walter Steenbock. The website is in German, but Google Chrome does a nice job of auto-translating it to English, and perhaps other languages as well. It is divided into three general categories, Diatoms, Desmids, and green algae, and contains beautiful photographs:

Microscopy Societies

Microscopy Society of Southern California (MSSC) ( meets in Santa Monica once a month (pre-Covid and hopefully post-Covid soon) for a lecture meeting, which is open to the public. Recent lectures have included Automated slide scanning by Olympus, acquiring electron microscope images for publication, the Annual Pond Life Meeting where everyone brings a microscope and a pond water sample from near their home, also an Exhibition Meeting where everyone brings something of microscopical interest to share. Additionally, lectures in photomicrography and video photomicrography, a three meeting course in Polarized Light Microscopy, forensic microscopy, microscopy in clinical laboratories, and even computational deep learning in microscopy. Also a workshop meeting in Long Beach is held once a month (temporarily suspended due to Covid and converted to a Zoom meeting).

San Francisco Microscopical Society:

State Microscopical Society of Illinois. SMSI seems to be primarily a materials science Society, and is loosely associated with the McCrone Institute in Chicago:

New York Microscopical Society: Although the website appears to be non-functional at the moment

 Quekett Microscopical Club in England. Their journal, The Quekett Journal of Microscopy, has been published under one name or another continuously since 1868. The club website has a tremendous amount of useful information available. They have an international membership and welcome both amateurs and professionals. The club’s emphasis is on amateur microscopy.

The Royal Microscopical Society, also in England, has been in existence since 1839. Their website: is also loaded with information useful to amateurs even though their primary focus is professional microscopy. The do have educational and outreach efforts as well.

Photomicrography - Photography Through the Microscope

Here is a very good book on photomicrography by a friend of mine, Dr. Brian Matsumoto, Ph.D.: Practical Digital Photomicrography: Photography Through the Microscope for the Life Sciences. ISBN-13: 978-1933952079 About $21.61

The New Photomicrography, also by Peter Evennett  This is a downloadable pdf introduction to digital photomicrography.

Krebs Micro: This is an early website on various methods of photomicrography, generally using an Olympus BHS microscope. Charles Krebs is a professional photographer who has won numerous Nikon and Olympus photomicrography contests. This website displays many of his photomicrographs and techniques. He also shows ways of attaching a camera, and even a flash attachment to a microscope, the effect of sensor or film size, and calculating image magnification. This site is well worth a look.

Here is a Micscape article I wrote on using your cell phone camera for high quality still and video photomicrography. It is a downloadable pdf and has been around for a few years but is still relevant and highly informative:

Numerous manufacturers make smartphone adapters that work on telescopes and microscopes as well. Celestron, a very well-regarded telescope manufacturer has a nice adapter with 3-axis alignment controls making it easy to align your smartphone properly to the microscope (or telescope) eyepiece: They are also available on Amazon or B&H Photo.

Equipment and Techniques for Microscopy

Downloadable pdf instructions on how to build a plankton net

Inexpensive, but very well built commercial plankton nets. I use one of their 20 micron mesh, 6 inch diameter, Student Plankton Nets to collect organisms from lake water. Its current cost is around $110. The very small 20 micron mesh is suitable for collecting where you want protozoa and small algae as well as the larger microorganisms. If you only want microinvertebrates use a larger, 100-150 micron, mesh. The Student Nets are not shown, but you can contact them by email to find out about them:

Safe Microscopic Techniques for Amateurs – Slide Mounting. By Walter Dioni. ISBN: 9781499746518. An introduction to the use of readily available and non-toxic materials for making microscope slide mounts. Also from Micscape. About $18.00

Identification Keys for Microorganisms

Guide to Microlife. By Kenneth Raines and Bruce J Russell. ISBN: 978-0531112663 This is an excellent introduction to the microscopy of small creatures, and great for identification of the more common ones. I wouldn’t be without my copy (actually I have three). Available on Amazon from off-site sellers since sadly it’s out of print. Expensive now new at ~$90 and up! (That’s down from ~$200 in Jan 2016). Right now (11/25/21) it is priced used starting at ~$21 and goes as high as $125 new. Amazon’s prices float, so check back periodically, or check with your library. I’ve bought used books several times from Amazon’s sellers and have never been disappointed at a book labeled “good” or better.

Most Wonderful in the Smallest: A Year in the Pursuit of Common Freshwater Microorganisms. A very nice book detailing a year’s worth of sampling excursions to various bodies of water. These include lakes, streams, swamps and ponds. Written as a journal, and suitable from late grade school and up, the author describes the sites and organisms collected over the course of a year. Numerous, well, but simply done photos demonstrate the organisms she found. By Linda VanAller Hernick. ISBN-13: 978-1-935778-37-0 $21.50 on Amazon.

David Seamer has published several nicely detailed, spiral-bound books with wonderful drawings of flagellates, ciliates, and amoebae. The drawings and the accompanying descriptions are designed to aid in the visual identification of the organisms. The author’s website has sample pages so you can see the high quality of the drawings. They can be purchased directly from the author at:

Microworld – World of amoeboid organisms: has a visual key to amoeba.

Searkscience has published a beginner’s key to protozoa in a downloadable pdf:…

Ward’s Science has published a beginner’s key to the protozoa often found in their cultures in a downloadable pdf

The Evolution & Biodiversity Lab at Miami University has an excellent web page of resources for the identification of aquatic organisms: is a scientific website based in Europe that has scientists from around the world as contributors. Identifications and images of foraminifera from around the world by location. You can choose a map location and dive into the species that have been found. This is an excellent resource if you are interested in forams.  is a content creation community dedicated to making taxonomic, ecological, and image-based data freely available for student, amateur, or professional diatom researchers. provides open, online access to a vast amount of recent and historical information on North American diatom taxonomy and ecology:

They have a very nice section called What are Diatoms with explanations suitable for even younger audiences. There is also a Diatom Web Academy 22 section listing upcoming web programs for 2022. There are links included to previously recorded webinars for 2020 and 2021 as well.

“Diatoms of North America is a collaborative effort to document the diversity of diatom species in North America. We aim to provide accurate information on diatom identification, ecology and distribution.” –

This content curation community aggregates existing taxonomic information, creates new content, and provides feedback in the form of corrections and notices of literature with nomenclatural changes. The website not only addresses the needs of experienced diatom scientists for consistent identification but is also designed to meet users at their level of expertise, including engaging the lay public in the importance of diatom science. The website now contains over 1000 species pages contributed by over 100 content contributors, from students to established scientists. – From their Facebook post.

Also see this paper in the Journal Diatom Research: supporting taxonomists, connecting communities

Diatoms Ireland is a website dedicated to Irish diatoms. It also has lots of information on diatom web resources, diatom cleaning and mounting, slide making equipment, and even instructions on how to build a Klaus Kemp style micromanipulator to make exhibition slides from diatoms like he did.