Micro*scope Tutorial

Page created by George Rice at Montana State University

Micro*scope is being developed to bring more information about diversity within the microbial world into the classroom, and research laboratory. It has benefited from contributions of dozens of enthusiasts around the world. Micro*scope uses taxonomic principals to organize information held in its databases of images and descriptions along with access to linked information at other expert websites. This effort is very much a work in progress and contributions, comments, and ideas are encouraged by the creators.

-David J. Patterson

Micro*scope is -

a web site that provides images and descriptive information about microbes and provides guides to related material elsewhere on the internet. Clicking on most images of microorganisms inside MLER will take you to the appropriate part of micro*scope.

Micro*scope Tools

Classification Tool

  • The classification tool is in effect an index of all forms of life.
  • Students can use this tool as a resource to study relationships of organisms as hierarchical groups based on their morphological similarities and evolutionary relationships.
  • The Classification Tool is one pathway that students can use to locate images of specific microbes which then leads to images of its close relatives.
  • This tool also provides information, for the selected microorganism, that locates it in a hierarchical fashion among all groups of organisms, large and small.
  • The Classification Tool is also useful for identifying links between organisms of interest such as humans and chimpanzees (Homo sapiens and Pan troglodytes), thereby helping students to conceptualize organizational themes in life.

Habitat Collection Index

  • This tool is perhaps the easiest method conceptually for students to identify microbes
  • The Habitat Collection Index allows users to locate organism information based where they are found in nature
  • Some habitats included in micro*scope's database: freshwater, sediments, and extreme environments.


  • Link-IT connects users with pertinent information located in other reliable internet databases selected for their quality product.
  • This tool functions by tracking taxonomic names across the internet, and local databases, to provide related material to the organism under investigation.

Matrix Keys

  • Matrix keys are a way to selectively choose characteristics that match the skill level and objectives of the user.