I found my first tardigrade!
 
My tardigrade safaris over the past couple of weeks have been successful. I have found a couple so far - check out the video above and these photos: https://twitter.com/arielwaldman/status/689353952073089024 . Here's also a video where you can even make out the eyes! https://www.instagram.com/p/BA3-WwXq-Cs/



For those of you just tuning in, this is all part of my effort to try to go to Antarctica to photograph microbial life under the ice. Tardigrades are considered extremophiles - organisms that can withstand extreme environments. Tardigrade means "slow walker", and they're also nicknamed things like "water bears" and "moss piglets".

If any of you have a microscope at home, you can probably find a tardigrade as well! They're ubiquitous around the world, but commonly found in moss. If you're able to grab some small samples of moss, soak it in distilled (not tap) water for 3-24 hours. Then pick up the moss from the water, squeeze the moss so that water drops out of it onto a slide or a petri dish (depending on what your microscope can handle). Then it's just a lot of patience as you go on your tardigrade safari!

Tardigrades are easy enough to find, relatively speaking they're fairly large under a microscope being approximately half of a millimeter in size. The way to spot them is to look for their claws. You may see other creatures that look as if they have stubby feet, but if you find one that has many stubby feet and claws on each foot, then you've likely found a tardigrade.

I have a lot more tips if any of you decide to start hunting for them, but these are the abbreviated basics to get you started!