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Identifying Microscopic Organisms in Water

Postby HopePressler1 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:18 pm

My daughter has collected water samples and viewed them under a microscope. She is now trying to identify the organisms. Is there a website or book that someone could recommend to help in the identification? There are many websites with information, but I am not sure if they are very accurate.

Also I wonder if it Is possible to see bacteria at 1000x magnification. She saw many tiny round clear organisms moving around in a vibration like way, and I was wondering if those could be bacteria.

Thank you,

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Re: Identifying Microscopic Organisms in Water

Postby Noorakhat » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:37 pm

Hello Hope,

For finding the organisms under the water sample, I have found a website here:

https://microscope-microscope.org/pond- ... oan-guide/

I hope it helps!

Also, since bacteria are very small compared to other cells, most of them can only be seen at 1000x, so there is a high chance that what your daughter is seeing is bacteria. I hope this helps!


Noora Khattab

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Re: Identifying Microscopic Organisms in Water

Postby cnoonan180 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:43 am


A trick to help you identify the bacteria is to identify the different shapes of bacteria as this is easier than identifying the species at first glance. This will help you narrow down the types of bacteria you see to better identify the species using solely a microscope (instead of DNA analysis/taxonomic identification). If you choose to focus on one type of micro organism, I would suggest going into more depth, but if you stick to identifying all of the organisms, I would suggest to keep your identifications more general.

Here's a link to a website that will help you identify the different organisms in the water sample:
https://www.microscopemaster.com/pond-w ... scope.html

Here's a link to the different shapes of bacteria you may see:

There are hundreds of species of mircoorgranisms present in a water sample, so try to stick to identifying just the type of organism rather than the species of every single one. Such as, identify the organisms you see as protists instead of Rhodophyta, a species of protist, as many different species can be present in a sample.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Identifying Microscopic Organisms in Water

Postby coxdenis32 » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:58 am

This is a good investment in self-education and long-term growth

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