This month, we introduce you to one of the latest Macropod-users, a paleontologist with the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn how you can take part in a unique approach to engaging young students in science. Also within this issue, you will find some of our most recent popular images, along with information on upcoming conferences with the world’s leading bug-experts. Enjoy!

- Dan Saftner, Co-founder of Macroscopic Solutions


Paper Wasp (genus Polistes)


The Macropod at the University of Pennsylvania

Macroscopic Solutions would like to welcome the Sallan Lab of the Earth and Environmental Science & Evolution Cluster at UPenn in Philadelphia to our community.  Dr. Lauren Sallan recently acquired the Macropod to image fish fossils for paleontological research.  

Dr. Sallan generously provided the following statement, 

“The Macropod is incredibly impressive. I just revised my quote from 2 stereomicroscopes with digital cameras to a single high powered, automated number for manipulating specimens before imaging and higher magnification. Paleontological research requires good images, particularly for smaller animals such as fish, which may have interesting structures ranging from the cm scale (bone, fins, overall form) to the micron scale (teeth, scale ornament). One major thing that's really been missing from our toolkit is the ability to create HD image stacks for whole specimens and structures in museum collections. Stacking was mostly limited to lab-based microscope objectives unless one has extensive DSLR experience (which I do not). My research projects can require dozens of specimens, so loans are not always feasible. The previous solution while at collections was to take overview photos with a DSLR on a copy stand and then close-ups with a macro lens and hope for the best. I have over 30,000 images from various museums, and many are unusable as details were lost due to errors in lighting or focus. The Macropod will streamline the process dramatically, as one stacked image can reveal even more than the naked eye and details that previously required close-up images. Macropod images of specimens from previous projects show features that were previously only apparent after extensive microscope work.  Plus, the procedure is entirely automated! The Macropod will save us precious time on collections visits and in the lab while greatly increasing our imaging abilities.”  

The Macroscopic Solutions team congratulates Dr. Sallan on her new position as assistant professor at UPenn and wishes her the best of success.  You can stay up to date with the Sallan Lab’s images on Flickr.  

The Sallan lab includes (from left to right) first-year EES grad student Kara Ludwig,
Lauren Sallan and postdoc Brian Swartz.

Left image (plain light) and right image(color-inverted):
Tarrasius problematicus
was an eel-like fish that lived in shallow bodies of water in what is now Scotland, in the Carboniferous period between 359 million and 318 million years ago. Click for more information


Please join Macroscopic Solutions in supporting their partners at PlantingScience, a very important middle and high school science education program. PlantingScience will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the next 2 weeks and we are asking you to share the cause with your colleagues, friends and family to help ensure that the necessary funds will be raised to sustain this amazing, free education program.

The link to the campaign will be provided soon! In the meantime, continue reading below to learn more about PlantingScience, or visit

PlantingScience has already worked with over 16,000 kids and their teachers nationwide and if you haven’t heard about it yet here is what it is all about:

  • It is a free online science education program for science teachers and schools.
  • PlantingScience needs to raise $75,000 for updates to its online technologies to support teachers and their kids.
  • Teachers and kids are waiting to use the program because it has capacity limitations due to vitally needed technology updates.
  • It coordinates and provides over 800 volunteer, mentor scientists to middle and high schools across the country.
  • 16 different, international, professional scientific societies work together to provide this program.
  • Scientist mentors work directly with kids teaching them scientific research practices by guiding them through the students' self designed research ideas.
  • Open education resources are offered for student-designed plant investigations that integrate scientific practices and big ideas in biology.
  • The program meets the guidelines in the new National Science Education Standards.
  • Originally funded by the National Science Foundation for 5 years and is now being sustained through individual and private foundation support.


The Macropod’s images are sometimes considered a mixture of science and art.  This is because a scientific instrument is used to achieve an artistic end that is significant for discovery, observation and education.  The images appease the senses and document high quality data of subjects that are associated with time and position.

Macroscopic Solutions releases many images daily and the some of our most noteworthy are shown below. 

Autumn Olive berries are ripening all across New England.  The berries of this invasive plant are highly nutritious and best served before the first frost before winter.  In addition, these trees have been accommodating a wide-variety of interesting jumping spiders (Salticidae) that have been captivating the eyes of our followers.

Olive Berry

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Red ant (Solenopsis) crawls through the doorway of a maple leaf.

Candy-striped leaf-hopper caught by Sara Ruth-Marie Fisher at one of her study sites in Mansfield, Connecticut.

House centipedes feed on spiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, ants, and other household arthropods. Despite their developed eyes, they seem to rely mostly on their antennae when hunting and they administer venom through modified legs (forcipules).



Entomological Collections Network 2014

The Entomological Collections Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of entomological science through the preservation, management, use and development of entomological collections and taxonomy.

Macroscopic Solutions will be sponsoring the upcoming ECN event in Portland, OR, and will be displaying their high-resolution imaging system, the Macropod. The meeting will take place November 15-16 at the Doubletree by Hilton. Visit the ECN website for more information on the organization and upcoming events.

Entomology 2014

Macroscopic Solutions will be exhibiting their imaging system, the Macropod, throughout the duration of the Entomology 2014 meeting in Portland, OR. The conference will be held at the Oregon Convention Center from November 16-19, and will feature a range of oral and poster sessions, workshops, student activities, and more! Read more about this event on the ESA Website.

By showing this newsletter at the conference, you will receive one free high-resolution image of your specimen on-site AND you will be entered for a chance to win $250 worth of Macroscopic Solutions imaging services.
Click here to read more about imaging services.