South Coast Open Meeting

Saturday 20th April 2024

As long as I can remember the weather for this meeting has been superb with wonderful views of the Dorset coast and countryside from the high road to Langton Matravers. This year was no exception as we took over the larger room in the Village Hall while another group were working in the small hall. Although there were only six members with Gossip exhibits there was a good variety of microscopes and specimens. Four or five additional members came to chat along with another half dozen other visitors including one family with young children.

Jeremy Poole brought some of his incredible SEM images, this time with an entomological bias. This was useful as one of the visitors was a Dorset entomological recorder.

Jeremy Poole’s exhibitJeremy Poole’s exhibit

Grenham Ireland brought several microscopes and an imaging set-up to show barnacles. He is developing this display which will be shown in August at the ‘Darwin – In Focus’ event. His usual collecting site is currently not available, perhaps that is why his barnacles refused to wake up and wave their tentacle. Possibly it was the wrong time in their circadian rhythm!

Grenham Ireland’s exhibitGrenham Ireland’s exhibit

Grenham Ireland with visitorsGrenham Ireland (left) with visitors

Joan Bingley had recently returned from far places but was showing a sample of Sphagnum moss on her stereo microscope along with much additional information.

Joan Bingley’s notesJoan Bingley’s notes

Mark Berry has been investigating the ‘livestock’ in the moss from his roof. There were rotifers, though not very active, along with a variety of other species. As usual he had some interesting home-made modifications for illumination on his microscopes and a very modified Reichert, the LED’s driven by a car charger giving the requisite 12 volts.

Mark Berry’s exhibitMark Berry’s exhibit

Mark Berry’s rotiferMark Berry’s rotifer

Debbie Burfitt brought her phase contrast microscope with the cross shaped phase contrast system which several people investigated. She showed a diatom display slide by Klaus Kemp along with much information about her work on diatoms from Jutland.

Debbie Burfitt’s exhibit

Debbie Burfitt with visitorsDebbie Burfitt (right) with visitors

Pam Hamer had two microscopes to show simple ways of modifying a conventional biological microscope and a basic children’s microscope to see images in polarised light. She had a variety of specimens to show the effect of polarised light including crystals, fibres and rock thin sections. She displayed Michel-Levy charts along with other publications explaining how to interpret the images. The ‘children’s table’ with small microscopes and magnifiers did host a couple of children.

Pam Hamer’s exhibitPam Hamer’s exhibit

Children’s tableChildren’s table

Although it was a select group, those there seemed happy to Gossip, adjourning to the local pub at lunchtime en-masse. It is a tribute to the original organisers of this meeting, sadly no longer with us, that the vote from this year was for a repeat meeting at Langton Matravers in 2025.

Report and photographs by Pam Hamer

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