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Mike's Blog - Day 211

You might have noticed in yesterday’s picture a small brightly coloured tree next to the visitor centre.

It perhaps looks like a maple from a distance, but it is in fact a Rowan/Mountain ash. Sorbus commixta ‘Embley’, the Scarlet Rowan or sometimes the Japanese Rowan.

Its leaves are so red you hardly notice the red fruits.

It was ceremonially planted by Dame Margot Fonteyn on the day she opened the visitor centre in July 1988. Here is a picture of her unveiling the plaque in the visitor centre.

She’s with Professor Don Boulter who was head of the Botany Department at the time, or by then it might actually have become the Biological Science Department.

I did get my maths wrong yesterday, there is nowhere near 6 million nanoparticles on the little pads, I was way out, the number is more like 730 million, and that’s allowing for gaps!

That got me thinking that there is a whole “micro” world out there, and I remembered years ago a student looked at the tiny little springtail bugs in our compost pile. You can just about see these with the naked eye. Little specks on the surface of compost that spring away when disturbed. They do this because their twin/forked tails are folded up underneath them and when “sprung” it catapults them away to safety. You can see them quite clearly in this microscope picture.

Also an image taken with Scanning Electron Microscope, you can see the legs, mouth and its spring tail folded up towards its face.

Tomorrow I’ll send you a few pictures taken even closer - up to 100x closer. It really is remarkable.