Electron microscopy at the Marine Biological Association: 1961-2006. Occasional Publication of the Marine Biological Association 23
Ryan, K.P. and Nott, J.A. (2007) Electron microscopy at the Marine Biological Association: 1961-2006. Occasional Publication of the Marine Biological Association 23. Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, (UK).
Full text available as:
The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom was founded in 1884 following the establishment of a marine laboratory at Naples. The Plymouth laboratory was opened in 1888 (Southward & Roberts, 1987, and other historical references listed following). The study of marine biology was facilitated by several factors, clearly the proximity of the sea, the boats used for surveying and collecting specimens and other facilities, not least among them, microscopes. A memorial photograph of former Director, Sir Frederick Russell F.R.S., hanging in the library shows him using a light microscope. With the development of electron microscopes, the laboratory identified a need to keep up-to-date. This was particularly true for the work on marine flagellates by Dr Mary Parke FRS (collaborating with Prof. Irene Manton FRS, University of Leeds) and Dr. Quentin Bone who was investigating the neuro-muscular ultrastructure and physiology of various protochordates. The first instrument, a Philips EM200 transmission electron microscope (TEM), was installed in the laboratory in 1965. It was used to examine thin specimens, namely direct preparations of flagellates supported on thin films and sections of tissues, until 1981. The demand for electron microscopy resulted in a second microscope, a Philips EM300, being installed in 1971. A small scanning electron microscope (SEM), the JEOL JSM P15, was purchased in 1976 for examining bulk specimens. This was replaced with a JEOL JSM T20 in 1979. In 1981, the electron microscope unit was re-equipped with a JEOL JEM 200CX Temscan (a combination of TEM and SEM), a JEOL JSM 35C SEM and ancilliary equipment. Both instruments were capable of perfoming x-ray microanalysis to identify chemical elements in specimens. Following the installation of the new equipment, microscopists at the MBA started to use low temperature methods to preserve the structure and chemistry of specimens in a more life-like manner. The EM300 and JSM 35C were removed from the laboratory in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Both the MBA Engineering Workshop and the MBA Electronics Workshop were involved in developing equipment both for the use of and research into cryo-methods. Their involvement was crucial to much of the science that followed, particularly in the investigation of heavy metal pollution and marine food chains. This was additional to the continuing requirements for ultrastructural studies by staff, students and visitors. The JEM 200CX remains as one of the most powerful instruments available, capable of producing high-resolution images between 20 and 200 kV in TEM and SEM modes as well as by the scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) mode that was used extensively in the microanalytical work. The Appendices record that 54 MBA staff and 196 students and visitors have used the microscopes and that 413 titles have been published (to the end of 2006).
NMBL Staff Only: edit this record