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Let There Be Laser Light

The ocean is teeming with life—most of which you can't see. Nick Loomis, a graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, has helped invent a new instrument to view microscopic marine plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). The device, called the Holocam, uses lasers to take three-dimensional holograms of plankton and other tiny things in the ocean. “So we are able to find plankton in their natural environment, doing what they do without disturbing them,” Loomis said. “We can sneak up and spy on their worlds. I guess you could say we are almost like micro-papparazi.” View an audio slideshow on Loomis. (Photo by Daniel Cojanu)

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