Thursday, March 4, 2010

Foraminifera on 1 Cent

This picture shows sand grains from Dog's Bay beach near Roundstone in Connemara. The sand is made up of the tests (shells) of microscopic single celled Protozoa called Foraminifera. There are over 100 species of Forominiferan tests found on the beach. The great Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger described the Foraminifera of Dog's Bay in his book 'The Way That I Went' (1937). He wrote "To lie down on one's face on the beach and examine the sand with a strong lens is a revalation to those unaquainted with the Foraminifera, for their almost microscopic shells are of great beauty and display remarkable variety of design. Some are curled spirally, some appear plaited, some are shaped like a lemonade bottle, some are spherical, some flat, many are delicately sculptured. A sample brought home and examined under a microscope shows an astonishing range of beautiful forms, which these tiny creatures - mere specks of translucent jelly - have evolved in their protective coating".


  1. I must take a closer look at sand in future. I had never thought of it in these terms.

  2. This is one of my favourite shots - when you see these under the microscope it really makes you think about life and the universe!