5 Golden Rules of Successful Biology Research

Successful Biology Research

Doing successful biology research is not as easy as it seems. There are 5 golden rules that you should always follow if you want to get the most out of your project. In this blog post, we will discuss these rules and provide some tips on how to implement them in your own work. So, whether you are just starting out in biology research or you have been doing it for years, be sure to read on!

Rule 1: Know Your Audience

When you’re doing research for a biology project, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. You’ll likely be presenting your findings to a teacher or classmates, so you’ll need to choose a topic that’s appropriate for their level of understanding. 

For example, if you’re researching for a high school biology class, you wouldn’t want to write about something too complex or controversial. However, if you’re doing research for a college biology class, you can feel free to explore more complicated topics. In general, it’s always a great idea to check with your teacher before starting your research to make sure you’re on the right track. By taking the time to understand your audience, you’ll be able to create a more successful biology research project.

Rule 2: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help is a natural part of the research process. No one knows everything, and even the most experienced biologists need assistance from time to time. If you’re thinking, should I pay someone to write my research paper? The answer is, it depends. Research paper writing can be very challenging. Without the right tools, you might end up disappointed with your result. If you’re afraid that might happen, then the best thing to do is buy a research paper online. You could search for ‘write my research paper’ on your favorite engine and set up an appointment with a writing specialist.

You could also consult with a professor or other expert in the field. If you don’t know anyone who specializes in biology, you can try reaching out to a librarian or searching for online resources. Another great way to get help is to ask fellow students who might be working on similar projects. No matter how you choose to get help, don’t be afraid to ask for it when you need it. Doing so will allow you to make the most of your research and produce the best possible results.

Learn the 5 Golden Rules for Successful Biology Research

Rule 3: Pick a Topic That You Are Passionate About

When it comes to research, picking a topic that you’re passionate about can make all the difference. Not only will you be more likely to enjoy the process of research, but you’ll also be more likely to stick with it even when the going gets tough. And trust me, there will be tough times. There will be days when you feel like you’re getting nowhere when all your hard work seems to be for nothing. 

But if you care about your topic, if you’re invested in finding out the answer to your question, then you’ll keep going. You’ll find a way to push through the difficult times and come out on the other side with new knowledge and a sense of accomplishment. So if you’re thinking about starting a research project, ask yourself: what is a topic that I’m passionate about? Once you have your answer, you’ll be one step closer to success.

Rule 4: Do Your Research

When you’re doing biology research, it’s important to do your research. That may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people skimp on this step. They’ll read a few books or articles, maybe talk to a few experts, and then start writing. The problem is that they haven’t really taken the time to understand the topic inside and out. As a result, their work is often inaccurate or incompetent. 

So if you’re serious about doing great, successful biology research, take the time to immerse yourself in the literature. Read everything you can get your hands on. Talk to as many experts as possible. And only when you have a thorough understanding of the topic should you start writing.

Rule 5: Stay Organized and Keep Track of Your Progress

As a biology researcher, it’s also important to stay organized and keep track of your progress. That way, you can avoid duplication of effort and make sure that you’re making the best use of your time. There are a few different ways to do this. First, make sure to keep records of your experiments. Note down what you did, the results you receive, and any observations you made. 

Second, create a project plan that outlines the steps you need to take to complete your research. This will help you stay on track and identify any potential problems early on. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help online, from your supervisor or colleagues. They can offer valuable insights and feedback that can help improve the quality of your work!

10 Biology Jokes That’ll Make You Laugh Your Genes Off

Biology, while super informative and exciting to science junkies, can be a little dry. It can also be pretty intimidating. However, we’re going to look at the light side: biology jokes!

We definitely need to insert humor into biology. However, not literally into our biology. That could be painful. Or gassy.

We’ve scoured the web for the best biology jokes to add some fun to your life science. These biology jokes also will help you better learn and remember biological terms and concepts.

Marine Life Sea GIF by Underdone Comics - Find & Share on GIPHY

Jokes 101

Biology is the study of life. And comedy is the art of laughing at the ups and downs of life. Comedy is a way of inserting humor into the serious. Jokes are often a way to relieve tension and stress.

Learning biology is easy and exciting for some. It’s tough and intimidating for others. Humor unites us all. Some truly funny biology jokes will not just get you laughing but help you learn to enjoy the concepts of life science.

Now, while knowing a couple of biology jokes isn’t going to make you a stand-up comedian, they just might help you remember important key terms and help you ace your next exam.

The Science of Funny

What makes things funny? Writing good biology jokes is not just about inserting biology terms or talking about farts. Good jokes are about playing with expectations.

You capitalize on the fact that words have double meanings. You play with expectations and add that little something extra.

In comedy, you play with the way people read or think about things. You make light of the different levels of meaning words or ideas have to give everyone’s brain a little tickle. Comedy is about relieving tension and sometimes you play with where people’s minds may go in order to get them to let out a deep belly laugh. So, onto the list!

The 10 Best Biology Jokes

  • What did the Femur say to the Patella?
  • Which Biochemicals Wash up on Beaches?
  • What is Blood’s Message to the World?
  • What do You Call a Member of the Financial Staff of the Faculty of Biology?
  • Why are men sexier than women?
  • What do You Call a Microbiologist who has Visited 30 Different Countries and Speaks 6 Languages?
  • Is there a Big Difference Between Male and Female Anatomy?
  • What did One Cell Say to His Sister Cell When She Stepped on His Toe?
  • How does Juliet Maintain a Constant Body Temperature?
  • Why didn’t the Dendrochronologist Ever Get Married?

What did the Femur say to the Patella?

I kneed you.

I Love You GIF by Psyklon - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This joke is humorous because the femur is the thigh bone and the patella is the knee cap. The femur literally needs the patella to walk. It connects the femur to the rest of the leg. Kneed is a play on the word need. The double context makes it a quick chuckle. Now, one might also say this joke was humerus. But the humerus is an arm bone.

Joke Source

http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/schooljokes/biologyjokes.html

Which Biochemicals Wash Up on Beaches?

Nucleotides

Scientific Illustration Cell Biology Animation Medical Dna Rna Polymerase Transcription GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This joke is funny because of the play on words between tides on a beach and the suffix -tides of the biochemical molecule called nucleotides. Nucleotides are the organic molecules that make up DNA. There’s also the added humor that they wouldn’t wash up on beaches.

But, technically, if we put on our lab coats and act like sticklers of science, nucleotides do wash up on beaches in the form of organic life. There are millions of microorganisms that live in the ocean, and there are also nucleotides in the various parts of living things that wash up on the shore.

Joke Source

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/biology-jokes

What Is Blood’s Message to the World?

B Positive.

Evolution Thumbs Up GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This joke makes our list of funniest biology jokes because it has multiple levels. There’s the fact that B positive is a blood type. and it is a play on the phrase, “Be Positive.”

It’s also funny to imagine your blood being super optimistic and sweet considering how little we see of it. Giving it that personality gives it that extra level of humor.

Also if you’re a fan of dark humor, B positive blood is super rare. The argument could be made that optimists are even rarer.

Joke Source

http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/schooljokes/biologyjokes.html

What do You Call a Member of the Financial Staff of the Faculty of Biology?

A buy-ologist.

Shopping GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This joke is funny because it’s a play on the word biologist. Not just any biologist but the person who manages the money for biology, which would make them a buyer. Are dad biology jokes a thing?

Joke Source

http://laffgaff.com/biology-jokes-puns-and-one-liners/

Why are Men Sexier than Women?

You can’t spell sexy without a ‘xy’

Sexy Homer Simpson GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This joke is funny on multiple levels. Now this joke has a nice build up that gets you thinking it’s talking about sexual reproduction. But it’s talking about sex as in the biological sex of someone.

Cis-gendered men are born male because of their XY chromosomes. Cis-gendered women have XX chromosomes.

This joke also sounds like a cheesy pickup line you would hear from a sketchy character, but instead, it’s biologically informative.

Joke Source

https://www.quickfunnyjokes.com/biology.html

What Do You Call a Microbiologist Who Has Visited 30 Different Countries and Speaks 6 Languages?

A man of many cultures

Petri Dish GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This is one of our favorite biology jokes because it’s a play on the world of microbiologists. Microbiologists need to get cultures in order to study the colonies of bacteria, protozoans, or other microorganisms.

Joke Source

https://www.quickfunnyjokes.com/biology.html

Is There a Big Difference Between Male and Female Anatomy?

Yes, a vas deferens.

Good One Lol GIF by Chicks on the Right - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This is one of our favorite biology jokes! It’s so hilarious because of the solid wordplay. Vas deferens is a play on vast difference. But literally, one of the biggest differences between male and female anatomy is the vas deferens. The vas deferens are the ducts that lead sperm cells from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts.

Joke Source

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/biology-jokes

What Did One Cell Say to His Sister Cell When She Stepped on His Toe?

Mitosis.

Redux GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This is a great biology joke because it covers the basics. Mitosis is how cells replicate. One cell forms two sister cells. But it also brings in the element of two sisters fighting.

So if one sister steps on another sister’s toes she might say “My toesies.” Which sounds like mitosis. It’s also funny to picture two cells bickering like sisters.

Joke Source

http://laffgaff.com/biology-jokes-puns-and-one-liners/

How Does Juliet Maintain a Constant Body Temperature?

Romeostasis.

No Way Lol GIF by Rosanna Pansino - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

This isn’t just one of the funniest biology jokes, but it brings in some Shakespeare and literature. Literary references can be funny, too. Homeostasis is how animals maintain their internal temperature and the equilibrium of their body. “Romeo & Juliet” is one of the most popular love stories of all time.

Joke Source

http://laffgaff.com/biology-jokes-puns-and-one-liners/

Why Didn’t the Dendrochronologist Ever Get Married?

Because he only dated trees

Tree Hugger GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Joke Dissection

A dendrochronologist is a person who studies the lifespan of trees. They literally date trees. But it would be sad to imagine a single, lonely scientist only dating trees. This joke is not just a super deep reference, it also is a play on words.

You also imagine the sad picture of a lonely dendrologist studying their trees but, surprise, it’s about what they literally do.

Joke Source

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/biology-jokes

Now it may be a while before you are touring with Kevin Hart. But you will definitely make your professor laugh with these great biology jokes. Not only can they help you ace your exam, but you’ll also put breathing more life into life science.

What Is Osmosis in Biology? Understanding How Solvents Break the Barrier

Are you getting ready for your first biology class? Or are you trying to shake off the cobwebs and remember your biology from years ago? Either way, you may be asking, what is osmosis in biology?

We want to answer this question in a way that is thorough and understandable at the same time. Dust off your old textbook and put on your reading glasses as you find answers to the question, “What is osmosis in biology?”

What Is Osmosis In Biology?

Osmosis is a type of diffusion. In biology, it is related to cells. Osmosis happens when a solvent flows through a cell membrane, to balance the concentration of a solute — such as salt. If water is a solvent, it will be affected by the amount of salt (solute) that it contains.

Understanding Diffusion

Diffusion happens when molecules move from a highly concentrated area to a less concentrated region. Solids, liquids, and gasses can all diffuse.

When a liquid such as water diffuses in cellular biology, it crosses a semipermeable membrane to balance the concentrations of substances within the cells. As water flows in or out of a cell, the concentration of solutes affects its travel.

Semipermeable Membranes

To answer the question, what is osmosis in biology, we have to understand semipermeable membranes.

Semipermeable membranes are membranes that allow specific molecules or solvents to pass through by diffusion. Every cell in the human body has a cellular membrane, and they are semipermeable.

That word breaks down: “semi” in this biology word means “partly”, and “permeable” means “able to be passed through, or permeated.” So, semipermeable membrane means a membrane partially able to be crossed.

Some things can pass through, and others cannot.

Osmosis happens as solvents pass into and out of the cell, crossing that semipermeable membrane.

Osmosis in Plants and Animals

Plant cells need more water than animal cells. Plants have thicker cell walls that can contain more solution before bursting. For that reason, plants can thrive with the diffusion of hypotonic solutions.

Hypotonic solutions have a much higher ratio of solvent to solute. Hypotonic solutions can make animal cells burst; animal cells have thinner cell walls than plant cells.

Isotonic solutions are much better for diffusion in animal cells. Isotonic solutions contain equal amounts of solvent and solute. Conversely, isotonic solutions will leave plants drooping and unhealthy.

Did you ever hear of someone pouring salt on a slug when they were a child? Hopefully not; but if you did you know the slug shriveled up and essentially disappeared. That is because the water left the slug’s cells in an attempt to balance the concentration of salt outside the cells.

That is osmosis in action.

Examples of Osmosis

Try it at home! If you are looking for an example of osmosis you can easily try at home, and you have some lettuce in your fridge (or any leafy green like kale or spinach) that has become wilted try this experiment:

Types of Solutions

test tube

image source: pixabay.com

Every solution has a solvent and a solute. When you buy contact lens solution, you are essentially buying saltwater; water is the solvent and salt is the solution. The same is basically true of your tears.

Solutions

To answer the question, what is osmosis in biology, we have to understand the types of solutions in biology. Solutions include isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic.

Iso means “equal.”

Isotonic solutions have equal amounts of solutes inside and outside the cell. Therefore, isotonic solutions have no net movement because the concentration is already equal.

“Hypo” means “below” or “lower.”

Hypotonic solutions have lower concentrations of solutes outside of the cell than inside. This causes osmosis as solvents enter the cell to even the concentration.

Hyper means “high” or “above.”

Hypertonic solutions have higher concentrations of solutes outside the cell causing osmosis as solvents exit the cell to balance the concentration.

Osmosis Applications and Uses

We asked, what is osmosis in biology, and a logical follow-up question is, what are the applications of osmosis?

Another easy osmosis experiment to try at home:

You need two glass or ceramic cereal-sized bowls, one large carrot or two “baby” carrots, salt, and water.

  1. Pour water into both bowls, sufficient to cover the carrot(s).
  2. Stir salt into one of the bowls until it stops dissolving (hot water will dissolve the salt faster, but let it cool to room temp before adding the carrot).
  3. Place a baby carrot, or half of your large carrot, in both bowls.
  4. Wait: set a timer for one hour, and check your carrots at intervals throughout the day.

We can see something interesting when we drop a carrot into a bowl of saltwater. Within hours the carrot will have become a limp, orange piece of ribbon.

Why? Because the water left the carrot to balance the high concentration of salt surrounding the carrot.

Have you ever watched a suspense movie where the stranded travelers on a desert island are longing for something to drink and one wise traveler warns the others, “Do not drink the ocean water!” A diet of ocean water would leave your cells void of water as it traveled to counteract the salt.

Medicine

Noting the effect of osmosis on our cells, consider the role of osmosis in medicine. Our red blood cells are the giver of life to many who have undergone blood transfusions. In the meantime, red blood cells are stored in an isotonic solution. Remember the solution types?

An isotonic solution is measured to balance the concentration of solutes inside and outside the cells. If the blood cells were stored in a hypotonic or hypertonic solution, the cells would either lose their water or be overtaken by water. Either way, lives could be lost.

A similar phenomenon happens when medicine is received intravenously. If the medicine within the IV solution took on too much solution or lost too much solution, it would not achieve its intended purpose.

Fruits

Have you ever eaten a dehydrated peach chip? Or strawberry chip? Fruits are dehydrated and preserved through osmosis.

Fruits are made primarily of water, so as osmosis causes the water to leave the fruit, it becomes much less likely to spoil

Meat

The opposite is true of meats. Think of the days before refrigerators and ice boxes. How did people preserve their meat? They covered it with salt.

Why did they do that? Unlike fruits that are dehydrated, meats are preserved through drawing solvent into the meat. As the solvent enters, it brings the solute (salt) with it to prevent easy access for bacteria. Salt creates a hypertonic environment that is lethal to bacteria cells.

The Other Side of the Coin

Remember the folks on the desert island? While osmosis could lead to their death through the consumption of saltwater, osmosis could also be their best friend. Since osmosis is a two-way street, it flows into and out of cells depending on concentration levels, it can actually be used to turn saltwater into something salt-free and drinkable.

While the stranded folks wouldn’t have the proper tools to reverse osmosis on the desert island, it is not impossible for someone with an understanding of science and osmosis.

Basically, the pressure is created to push water from highly concentrated areas into an area away from the salt. Today, small units can actually be purchased to reverse osmosis and create safe drinking water.

Here’s an example of a large unit, used in Australia, to clean saltwater for drinking:

Conclusion

water
image source: pexels.com

What is osmosis in biology? Hopefully, you can now answer that question with some thoroughness.

Osmosis is a type of diffusion that happens when a solvent moves through a semipermeable membrane. In biology, water moves through our cells based on the concentration or ratio of solvent (water) to solute (salt).

Semipermeable membranes allow some solutions to pass through, meaning cells can take on too much water or lose too much water. If a cell is in a solution more concentrated than itself (hypertonic), water will enter the cell to balance the high concentration of salt without the cell.

Osmosis also plays a key role in carrying nutrients across the cell membrane. Likewise, waste is escorted out of the cell. Osmosis allows the roots of trees and plants to get the water and nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.

In return, the plants feed us, either directly or by sustaining the herd animals we eventually eat. Plants rely on osmosis to live, and people rely on plants to live.

Aside from plants, osmosis also is crucial to man’s survival because it expels toxins and waste from our systems.

Hopefully, you have an understanding of osmosis as you move ahead in your biology class or as you reflect on your biology class from many years ago. Osmosis in biology is more than a scientific principle in an old textbook; it is a lifeline for both plants and animals.

You can look around you each day and see it at work, from tall trees in your backyard to patients recovering in the hospital with an IV feeding their veins. Practical examples of osmosis range from accident victims receiving emergency blood transfusions to little kids pouring salt on slugs.

Take note of the osmosis that happens in front of you each day and be amazed by the science all around you.

Featured image: pixabay.com

From Water to Land: 10 Amazing Types Of Amphibians

There are nearly 8,000 types of amphibians, including some of the most unusual and exciting creatures found on land and water.

About two million species of animals inhabit Planet Earth. More than that, scientists discover and categorize about 10,000 other new species every year. Animals are broken down into classes which include vertebrates and invertebrates, or animals with or without spines.

Amphibians belong to the vertebrate class along with birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles. All amphibians are cold-blooded, meaning they cannot generate body heat on their own. For that reason, they must rely on their environment to keep them cold or warm enough for survival.

Going further, most amphibians undergo a metamorphosis from a juvenile to an adult form. For example, frogs begin as tadpoles with gills and a tail. As they mature, they develop lungs. Over time, four legs replace most types of amphibians tails.

The Types of Amphibians

Amphibian species include three subgroups or orders. Firstly, there is the Order Anura which includes about 6,500 species of frogs and toads.

Secondly, the Order Caudata or Urodela includes about 680 species of newts and salamanders. Thirdly, Order Apoda or Gymnophiona, includes about 200 species of caecilians.

Frogs and Toads

Types of amphibians: European Common Frog (Rana temporaria) & European Toad (Bufo bufo) on a grassy patch of soil
European Common Frog (Rana temporaria) & European Toad (Bufo bufo): Image CC by 2.0 Generic, by Thomas Brown, via Wikipedia Commons

Frogs and toads typically have short bodies, webbed fingers and toes, and no tails. And, they usually have bulging eyes.

Newts and salamanders

yellow-spotted salamander, an amphibian, on a white background
Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum): Image CC by 2.0, by Brian Gratwicke, via Wikipedia Commons

Newts and salamanders look similar to lizards and have short legs, skinny bodies, and long tails. Surprisingly, salamanders and newts have the remarkable ability to re-grow lost limbs and tails.

Caecilians

Caecilian: one of the types of amphibian with eggs in wet soil
Presumed Microcaecilia dermatophaga mother with eggs: Image CC by A 2.5 Generic, by Wilkinson M, Sherratt E, Starace F, Gower DJ (2013), via Wikipedia Commons

Caecilians don’t have any legs and resemble worms or snakes. That is because they mostly live underground, or in the substrate under streams. As a result, they have strong skulls and pointed noses to help them burrow through mud and dirt.

Fun Facts About Types of Amphibians

Amphibians are an evolutionary link between water-dwelling animals such as fish and land-dwelling animals such as mammals. Let’s be honest, they are some of the most fascinating animals on Planet Earth.

For example, amphibians have extremely primitive lungs. However, they have thin, moist skin that absorbs limited amounts of oxygen. So, you could say some types of amphibians breathe through their skin.

Another exciting fact about them, amphibians are carnivores and predators. But, they cannot chew their food. So, they swallow their prey whole.

Amphibians are also one of the planet’s most endangered animal species. It is believed that nearly half of the world’s amphibians are threatened species. That’s due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.

10 Amazing Types of Amphibians

Amphibians include some of the most amazing and unusual vertebrates found on earth. Much like their ancestors, most of them stick close to water.

We gathered a collection of photos of 10 of the most exciting types of amphibians currently roaming the earth, below. Then, we included a brief introduction to each one.

1. Axolotl

The axolotl is a type of salamander that is native to central Mexico. Unlike many other types of amphibians, axolotl larvae do not undergo metamorphosis when they reach maturity. As a result, they retain their gills, and tails, and are entirely aquatic throughout their life cycle.

photograph of an axolotl under wooden structure in a tank - one of the types of amphibian
Types of amphibians: Axolotl. Image via Instagram.

2. Fire Salamander

Fire salamanders are native to the forests of central and southern Europe. These types of amphibians stay near to ponds and streams, which they rely on for breeding. Another cool fact, they are active both night and day.

photograph of a fire salamander - a type of amphibian
Fire Salamander. Image via Instagram.

3. Golden Toad

The golden toad was native to the tropical mountain regions of Costa Rica, known as montane cloud forests. Sadly, golden toads are one of many types of amphibians thought to be extinct since they have not been seen since 1989.

photograph of a golden toad - a type of amphibian
Golden Toad. Image via Instagram.

4. Green Tree Frog

Green tree frogs are native to New Guinea and Australia. Their colors range from brown to green, depending on the surrounding air temperature. These are one of the most abundant types of amphibians dwelling in trees.

photograph of a green tree frog - a type of amphibian
Green Tree Frog. Image via Instagram.

5. Hellbender

Hellbenders are native to wetlands of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. However, they are sometimes located in smaller numbers in the surrounding states. Sadly, hellbenders join other types of amphibians on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

photograph of a hellbender - a type of amphibian
Hellbender. Image via Instagram.

6. Luristan Newt

These black and white spotted newts are native to the Luristan Province of Iran. While they look like cows, they are clearly amphibians. The Luristan newt is listed as “critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, they are currently protected under Iranian law.

photograph of a black and white spotted luristan newt - a type of amphibian
Luristan Newt. Image via Instagram.

7. Poison Dart Frog

The poison dart frog is native to the subtropical and tropical regions of South America. They can also be found in Central America. Bright colored dart frogs are extremely poisonous. However, dart frogs with cryptic or dull coloring have nominal toxicity. In fact, some are not toxic at all.

photograph of a poison dart frog - a type of amphibian
Poison Dart Frog. Image via Instagram.

8. Red-Eyed Tree Frog

The red-eyed tree frog is native to the Neotropical rainforests of Mexico and Central America. In addition to their bulging red eyes, these tree frogs have webbed orange feet and blue and yellow flanks. Luckily, due to their large number, they are listed as “least concerned” by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

photograph of a red-eyed tree frog - a type of amphibian
Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Image via Instagram.

9. Endemic Tailed Caecilian

The endemic tailed caecilian is native to the tropical regions of Sri Lanka. Resembling a giant earthworm, endemic tailed caecilians range in size from 9 inches to nearly 16 inches. Additionally, the endemic tailed caecilian is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

photograph of a sri lankan endemic tailed caecilian - a type of amphibian
Sri Lankan Endemic Tailed Caecilian. Image via Instagram.

10. Tiger Salamander

The tiger salamander is native to the mountainous and lowland regions of the United States and Mexico. Unlike other types of amphibians, they tend to avoid water. Additionally, they can grow to lengths of 12 inches and larger.

photograph of a tiger salamander - a type of amphibian
Tiger Salamander. Image via Instagram.

What We Learned About the Types of Amphibians

We hope you enjoyed our article and accompanying photos of amazing and unique types of amphibians.

You have seen our favorite types of amphibians. Now we want to know about your faves. Using the comments section, let us know any unusual types of amphibians you would like to see included in future articles.

Featured image: A collage of various amphibians CC by ASA 3.0 Unported, by Various Artists: File:Litoria phyllochroa.JPG, File:Seymouria1.jpg, File:Notophthalmus viridescensPCCA20040816-3983A.jpg, File:Dermophis mexicanus.jpg, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Prepare a Microscope Slide to Zoom In on a Specimen

Microscopes offer a great way to discover an entire universe that lies beyond what we can see with the naked eye. From harmful bacteria to beautiful and unique crystal shapes, microscopes open an entire world for us to explore which would otherwise be impossible to learn about. To experience this vast but minuscule new world it is important to know how to prepare a microscope slide for the different materials you’ll want to examine close up.

This article serves as a simple, easy-to-follow guide on how to prepare a microscope slide. This includes a list of the materials needed to mount slides, an explanation of the different techniques of mounting slides and when to use them, what techniques to use for the best results depending upon the specimen, and which style of slides to choose for which type of observations you’ll be making. Follow this easy guide to explore what the microscopic world has to offer!

How to Prepare a Microscope Slide

Gather the Materials Needed

When considering how to prepare a microscope slide, you should first gather all the necessary materials for creating slides. As you will see later on in this instructional guide, different types of materials you wish to observe under a microscope call for different types of slide mounts. Also, the different types of observations you wish to make each have their own requirements regarding shape of the slide you should use. Regardless of what you are observing and how you will observe it, there are certain basic materials you will need. These materials include:

  • Slides
  • Coverslips
  • Pipette (also called a dropper)
  • Tweezers
  • Cotton or paper towel
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Stains (chemical or organic)
  • Fluids for wet mounting
  • Samples of the material you wish to observe

Microscope slides can be made of glass or plastic, feature a flat or concave shape, and each one will have its own advantage and purpose, depending on what type of observations you will be doing. For example, plastic slides are more resilient and less likely to break, so they are safer to handle as they have no sharp edges, so they are a better choice if you’ll be preparing your microscope slides outside.

Glass slides generally have a better reflective index and are less likely to scratch, which allows for better photos to be taken of the specimens than those on plastic slides. Choosing glass or plastic slides is a personal choice, but regardless of the materials the slides are made of, the standard size of a typical microscope slide is approximately 1X3 inches and between 1mm-1.2mm thick.

Wet vs. Dry Mounts

There are two main methods of mounting microscope slides: the wet mount method and the dry mount method. The dry mount technique is simpler and is ideal for larger specimens that that are inorganic or dead matter. Feathers, pollen, hair samples, and insects are all Ideal examples for dry mounts. Thicker or opaque samples might have to be sliced thinly to allow light to pass through the specimen which will help you see things better under the microscope. Because these samples are lifeless, these slides rarely expire and can be preserved for longer periods of time.

Wet mounts are more complex and require more attention, so keep this in mind when planning how to prepare a microscope slide. Generally used for observing organisms that live in water and other liquids, such oils, glycerin, and brine, wet mounts are also useful for when the material itself is a fluid, such as observing blood. Anything that doesn’t require the addition of water to be observed under a microscope needs to be prepared on a wet mount.

It is also important to note that using a wet mount technique has its limitations concerning living organisms. Because wet mount slides will ultimately dehydrate the living organisms within the slide, those organisms have a limited lifespan while on the slide, and therefore there is a limited shelf life for the slide itself.

For example, certain organisms, such as protozoa, offer us a very limited window of observation, as they can only survive in a wet mount slide for approximately 30 minutes if the slide is allowed to dehydrate. A way to slow this process down and have more observation time in this situation would be to seal the edges of the slide with petroleum jelly. This way, the liquid will remain in the slide longer and the life of the slide will be extended for a few days.

Another issue concerning wet mount slides involves specimens that are too large to allow the coverslip to be placed comfortably on top and rest flatly on top. Here, you might place ground pieces of glass from a spare coverslip to encase the specimen to provide some extra space for the specimen to be secured. You may also place a small cotton strand around the edge to perform the same function and corral the specimen in place. This is also a great technique to use when live specimens are quick moving, as this will limit their movement and slow them down, giving you a better observation experience.

Smears, Squash, and Stains–How and When to Use Each

Knowing how to prepare a microscope slide properly also involves applying the proper technique, as different techniques are used depending on the material being observed. Depending upon which type of material you will be looking at under your microscope, you should use the right technique to get the best results. Using these three techniques under the right circumstances shows you are certain in how to prepare a microscope slide properly.

Smear Slides

Smear slides are fairly straightforward and create microscope slides that look exactly as the name suggests: a thin smear of material across the clear slide. This method is primarily used for blood samples or samples that are fluid in nature. This is done by using a pipette (or dropper) to place a drop of the material onto the slide. Using a second slide to smear the material across the first, you can create a very thin coating that allows for clear observation. This slide creation technique allows the specimen to dehydrate at a moderate pace.

Squash Slides

Squash slides are a way to prepare soft material for observation. Drop the fluid of choice onto the slide and press down slightly as to flatten the sample and squeeze the liquid from it without breaking the slide or coverslip. Use a tissue to absorb the excess liquid. This wet mounting technique is ideal for tissue or sponge samples.

Stain Solutions

Stain applications are a great way to distinguish between living and non-living cells in your specimen sample. This technique is primarily done in the biological science labs to help scientists identify diseases, especially different bacteria, and examine the minute characteristics of cells more closely.

Depending on what exactly you are trying to identify, there are several types of stains you can use, but the most common is iodine. Prepare the wet mount as you would with any other fluid, in this case using the staining solution, place the coverslip on the edge of the slide, and slowly pull the stained liquid sample across the slide. Use a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid.

Flat vs. Concave Slides—Which to Choose?

When first learning how to prepare a microscope slide, it is important to consider what type of material you will be observing. It is equally important to consider what type of observation will be best based on the consistency of the material of your sample. This is where you will decide whether you want to preserve your slide and keep it for further use, or if that is not possible, perhaps it is more practical to not use a coverslip for your wet mount. But how can you made observations under your microscope without a coverslip?

This is made possible through the use of a concave style slide. Also known as a depression slide or a well slide, this microscope slide is shaped so it can hold a drop of liquid in an indentation without the use of a cover. As expected, this option is considerably more expensive, but will allow you to observe a live organism and preserve it for future observation as flat wet mounts will shorten the life span of the specimen considerably. Concave slides also allow for free movement of specimens within the drop of water or fluid present.

Conclusion

Microscopes can lift the veil on a whole new world for you, your friends, and family, especially know that you know the various aspects about preparing microscope slides. Knowing how to prepare a microscope slide properly lets you to observe a variety of materials, witness what changes occur over time, compare specimens, and potentially preserve those specimens indefinitely! Learning how to prepare a microscope slide properly offers many benefits, and we hope this quick guide has given you the confidence you need to prepare slides of your own while you’re out in the field or in your home laboratory.