Gigi Mederos takes a turn on the microscope observing samples
We’ve all heard of the pop-up trend for galleries and boutiques… But, for a biology lab? Recently, on a warm August afternoon, Aquatro Gallery turned into an impromptu lab – Bausch & Lomb microscope and all! When Ralph and Erika Haag – visiting Cape Ann from Williamsburg, VA – asked if they could use the table in front of Aquatro, I did not realize what a delightful surprise I had in store. Ralph, a retired marine biologist with an easy smile, whose hobby, with his charming wife Erika, is to continue checking samples from all the places he visits.
Ralph Haag, retired marine biologist, checks local water samples for life.
Once they were at the table and with a practiced maneuver, Ralph pulled out the well-used microscope he travels with from a raw canvas bag. He carefully peeled off protective plastic and bubble wrap and set the microscope down along with the four samples of marine invertebrates he had collected on Smith Cove just a few minutes before.
What a treat it was to look through twin lenses again! Among the unexpected and fascinating visitors at the gallery this afternoon were Arthropods: tiny, very active and translucent crustaceans. The smaller of the shrimp-like creatures were creamy and nearly transparent, while the larger ones wore brown spots on each segment of their jointed little armature making them seem like capricious and hyperactive little knights. There were also Hydroids, which I took for plant life, but are small, predatory animals related to jellyfish and coral in an early stage of their lives as Hydrozoa. Sure to be making appearances in future pieces of my work are the colonial sea-squirts; clustered together with their hungry little mouths, hued in remarkable, oxidized orange tones, patterned like some post-modern lacework.
Ralph and Erika Haag pose with their popup biology lab at Aquatro Gallery
So my gratitude to the Haags, who were so generous to share their hobby with me and a few others; and then returned the little inhabitants of the cove back to their habitat before they became too hot.