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Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) and its application to fossil dinoflagellate cysts

1. Introduction

Conventional light microscopy is clearly the tool most widely used in the investigation of palynomorphs. However, the delicate morphological features found in many dinoflagellate cysts are not resolved with traditional optical methods, and the documentation of palynological objects is further hampered by the low depth of field inherent in the optical system. Electron microscopy offers an enormous information gain in comparison to conventional light microscopy and also avoids the depth of field problem. On the other side, it necessitates delicate, time-consuming preparation techniques, and the study of conventional strew mounts is not possible. We therefore examined the application of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) to fossil dinoflagellate cysts (FEIST-BURKHARDT & PROSS 1999).