One type of microscopic organism is the soil tardigrade also known as 'waterbears' . They inhabit the water films that surround grains of soil. One variety of this species has even visited outer space without a space suit and survived, and still reproduced offspring after the journey! Tardigrades are facilitating new questions and research about the state of cryptobiosis which is the most severe form of suspended animation any creature can be revived from.
The new research has implications for such applications as preservation of sperm, seeds, blood and food. Possibilities of human cryptobiosis are being studied which could aid in operations, preserving transplant organs and even long distance space travel! Tardigrades have been revived after 120 years of dehydration on a piece of museum specimen moss and can survive both intense freezing and boiling temperatures.
Their eggs are also beautiful intricate forms.
Springtails get their name from an organ that enables them to rapidly launch or 'spring' themselves to safety from dangerous predators. They are also known as 'snowfleas' as they appear on the early days of Spring days when the melting snow enables them to climb to the surface where they appear by the thousands.
The permanent installation of ten bronze reliefs will be viewable at the Highwood Lakeshore Preserve by the Spring of 2011.