Answer to What is This on the Cover of American Laboratory June/July

The image on the cover of American Laboratory’s June/July issue showed “Star Sand,” or Foraminifera, from Okinawa, Japan. Foraminifera are microscopic, single-celled organisms that are found in marine environments. Foraminifera shells, called “tests,” color the sands of many tropical beaches around the world.

For this image, sand grains were air dried on a glass microscope slide. The photomicrograph was taken by Heidi Ullberg (McCrone Associates, Inc., Westmont, IL, U.S.A.) using an Olympus SZX10 stereomicroscope with external fiber optic oblique illumination. Background was obtained by using indirect transmitted illumination with a Tiffen Photar 80A blue filter.