Electron microscopy

Peristomal teeth of an Antarctic moss
Image of the peristomal teeth of an Antarctic moss, captured with the Australian Antarctic Division's Electron Microscope (Image: Rick van den Enden)

The Electron Microscopy Unit (EM Unit) forms part of the technical support given to scientists and students doing research in Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.

We aim to provide effective, efficient and safe electron microscopical services of international standard to all our clients to meet the needs of the Australian Antarctic Science Program. We provide specialist knowledge, expertise and equipment to clients in the field, on marine science voyages and at AAD headquarters in Tasmania.

Most of our images are of biological origin and have been important in identifying new species of marine and terrestrial organisms. These organisms are extremely important in the Antarctic food web and many of them have microscopic characteristics which show how successfully they have adapted to their extreme environment.

Some of these organisms are found nowhere else, and they make a singular contribution to biodiversity. Some antarctic organisms are living at the limit of survival and represent potent indicators of global environmental change.