The Benthic Underwater Microscope imaging-PAM (BUMP)

Sponsors: National Science Foundation

Project Overview:

The BUM just got upgraded, meet the BUMP!

Photosynthesis is the process in which atmospheric carbon is assimilated into simple sugars that subsequently are used as an energy source for living organisms. As oxygen is a byproduct of this process, it is undoubtedly a key process in nature.

While half of the oxygen on earth is produced in the ocean, it is mainly released by small, microscopic organisms.

The Benthic Underwater Microscope imaging-PAM (BUMP) uses the pulse amplitude modulated light technique to excite chlorophyll-a fluorescence and the saturating pulse approach to determine the photosynthesis efficiency of organisms that are as small as individual symbiotic algae within corals’ tissue (~8 µm). The BUMP gives us a sneak peek into the microscopic underwater world and can provide both brightfield images as well as measurements of photosynthesis spatial heterogeneity.


  • Principal Investigator: Jules S. Jaffe
  • Principal Engineer: Paul L. D. Roberts
  • Post-Doctoral Scholar: Or Ben-Zvi
  • Additional Engineers: Pichaya Lertvilai, Devin Ratelle
  • Programmer: Joseph Snider