Microcosm Film Project: January 2015 Update

A guest post by Michele Hoffman Trotter, SUST adjunct professor at Roosevelt University and director/co-producer of the Microcosm film project. Here Michele updates us on new developments on filming, research, and fundraising for this exciting interdisciplinary endeavor as of late December and as the Microcosm team heads into 2015.

December was a busy month for us on the Microcosm Project and it’s about to get much busier in 2015!  About a week ago we learned of some research being conducted at Shedd Aquarium that seeks to investigate how microscopic communities promote animal health and welfare.  We can’t divulge more specifics just yet, but there is a very clear connection between the incredible work being done at Shedd, and the message we want to communicate through our film.

As a result we will be working even more closely with our friends at Shedd to get more engaged with their research, and film creatures on site with tools that will give YOU the viewer a whole new and exciting way to explore the microscopic world with us.  We could not be more excited about this, and we think it is an excellent way to show case the incredible contribution that the Shedd Aquarium and institutions like it make to promoting global conservation initiatives.

RU student and SUST major Emily Rhea works in the chemistry lab at Columbia College on a Microcosm ocean acidification experiment, Nov. 2014 (photo: M. Hoffman)

RU student and SUST major Emily Rhea works in the chemistry lab at Columbia College on a Microcosm ocean acidification experiment, Nov. 2014 (photo: M. Hoffman)

We have also been hard at work in our laboratory at Columbia College designing experiments that will be used as demonstrations in the film, and will then be made available to any teachers who want to explore concepts such as ocean acidification, filter feeding and more in their own classrooms!  Designing experiments is time consuming, detailed work but we are SO fortunate to be working with two award-winning educators Beatrix Büdy and Lynette Foss, exceptional interns Emily Rhea and Kiera Ryon, and lab manager extraordinaire Mara Kovacevic.  With a crew like this our time spent in the lab is not only productive, it’s an absolute BLAST!

We have met many amazing and wonderful people on our journey to make this film.  Dr. Mark Deakos is one of them and we can’t pass up this opportunity to share with you his vision for the New Year.  Manta rays are one of our favorite microcosm munchers, and their global populations are in serious jeopardy.  Dr. Deakos has a plan to prevent further harm to these glorious creatures off the coast of Hawaii and has set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to achieve the goal of putting a stop to further damage.

We hope you will take a minute to view his campaign, offer a positive comment, contribute a tax deductible buck, and hopefully share it with as many folks as you can.  This work is so very important, we are proud to partner with Dr. Deakos in this excellent initiative, and we want to congratulate him on the 13k he has raised thus far!


Finally, you can see Dr. Deakos with Jeff Corwin and the glorious mantas on Animal Planet this February. Keep an eye out for that show, and as always, thanks for being a part of our journey!

Michele, Annie, and the crew at Microcosm

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