Discovery of a Kimberlite Pipe and Recognition of a Botanical Indicator in NW Liberia

May 6th, 2015

Professor Stephen Haggerty, a distinguished researcher at Florida International University, discovered an elusive diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe in NW Liberia and recognized rare plant species (Pandanus candelabrum) that seems to only grow on top of Kimberlite pipes. This potential biological indicator of diamond-rich structures would be the first of its kind and may revolutionize diamond prospecting in areas where exploration is difficult and not cost-effective. Part of this work, EDAX analysis and SEM images, was performed here at the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) with the help of Thomas Beasley and Sven Holbik.


Above is an SEM image of a root cast from Pandanus candelabrum.

This story has been picked up by a number of news organizations. See the stories below:

Rare African Plant Signals Diamonds Beneath the Soil

Scientists discover rare African plant that indicates presence of diamonds

Plant That Only Grows In Diamond-Rich Soil Found

The Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy participated in FIU's "Take Your Kids to Work Day"

April 10th, 2014

Thomas Beasley and Sven Holbik hosted over 12 children throughout the day at FCAEM on April 10th, 2015. The visiting kids were given a tour of the facility and in-depth explanation of all available instrumentation. The scanning electron microscope (JEOL 5900) was available for them to view in-house biological samples (weevil and housefly).

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Three New Species of Tursiocola (Bacillariophyta) from the Skin of the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus)

March 27, 2015

A paper published by Thomas A. Frankovich from the Southeastern Environmental Research Center (SERC) at Florida International University credited FCAEM for collecting high quality images using the scanning electron microscope to identify new species of diatoms. This work was published in Phytotaxa, an international journal of botanical taxonomy.

The Geological Society of America's Southeastern Section Meeting

19-20 March 2015, Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) was featured at a workshop at the Geological Society of America's Southeastern section meeting as a part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation's "Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) program". Over 50 attendees remotely operated the electron microprobe and scanning electron microscope online with the help of Post-doctoral Scholar Dr. Sven Holbik and Engineer II Thomas Beasley. Project collaborating PI's, USF Geoscience Chair Dr. Jeffrey Ryan, FGCU Professor Dr. Jaime Macdonald, FIU Professor Dr. Rosemary Hickey-Vargas and Valencia College Professor Mary Beck demonstrate how the EPMA and SEM may be used remotely during undergraduate classes at their institutions. This project focuses on facilitating the transition of undergraduate students from passive, directed learners to engaged, self-directed investigators.

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PI Dr. Jeffrey Ryan (left, middle and below with gray striped shirt), PI Mary Beck (left with red sweater) and Post-Doctoral Scholar Dr. Sven Holbik (left, right and below, blue shirt).

A close-up image of project members and attendees simultaneously operating scanning electron microscope(monitor on right) and electron microprobe (monitor on left).