PEARL  Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory

Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston ON, Canada, K7L 3N6

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Basic microscopy for PEARL

Prepared as a guide for PEARL by Kathleen Rühland

 Paleolimnological research at PEARL will undoubtedly require extensive use of a light microscope. Fortunately, PEARL has numerous high-end microscopes specifically configured for resolving the minute details of the microscopic paleoindicators that we have (or will) come to love. Unfortunately, these microscopes are all too often improperly used and therefore fail to meet their full potential. Mastering how to properly set up a light microscope is important, regardless of what magnification you are working with and which paleoindicator you are working with (diatoms, chrysophytes, cladocerans, chironomids, and even pollen). Proper alignment of the microscope’s light path or illumination system is essential for obtaining crisp, clear, high resolution images of our microfossils. If this is not done then you might as well work on a teaching microscope and never reap the benefits of a state-of-the-art, fully equipped research microscope. This PDF document hopes to guide you through some microscope basics that will help improve your counting and identification work. Click here to download the full document.

Tool for Microscopic Identification                          

Should it be necessary, the following links can be used for calibrating microscope objectives:

Saving current microscope objective calibration files for back-up and reference


      These are the particular calibration files to download. (If your browser wants to open the file you can right click on the link and choose an option):

            For Retiga 1300 cameras (A series):    dist.reg

               For B series cameras (Alpha & Beta scopes):    nedefaultkat2.reg

            For the newest scopes:    cal.reg