Microscopic Worlds Volume 3: Bacteria, Fungi, Lichens and Plants

Examines some of the earliest life-forms and their continuing impact on planet Earth using brilliant 3D images.

In this series of three books, the author escorts the reader on a fascinating and inspiring exploration of areas of the biological world unseen and unknown by most. In each volume, the author presents often complex scientific ideas in a style that is lively and easily understood. Together with stunning 3D images, taken using one of the most modern and powerful scanning electron microscopes available, the books present a unique portrait of the biosphere. Each book contains a pair of 3D glasses. + Full description

What does the inside of a leaf look like and why do leaves have all of those ‘pipes’? On the outside surfaces of a leaf are stomata, but have you ever wondered what they are for? Where do pollen grains come from and are flowers really just modified leaves? Volume 3 examines some of the earliest life-forms, describing the continuing impact these organisms have on planet Earth. Follow the development of fungi from spore germination through to maturity and reproduction, all in brilliant 3D.

Microscopic Worlds will appeal to readers of all ages. The author makes no assumptions about what the reader knows about science, but ultimately it will be the images that initiate a desire to know more. The more we appreciate the complexity and importance of small organisms and the minute systems making up larger organisms, the more likely we are individually to take a concern in, and respond to, global environmental degradation.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.

The other titles in this series are:
Microscopic Worlds Volume 1: Bugs of the Ocean, Microscopic Worlds Volume 2: Bugs of the Land


"The remarkable and sophisticated images were captured with the assistance of a scanning electron microscope and will instantly swell your admiration for the microscope, as will Swanson’s enthusiasm, awe and personal affinity for these creatures. His overview is simple, understandable and comprehensive. The book soundly challenges any misconceptions that 'bigger is better' and will inspire budding enthusiasts everywhere to appreciate the delicacy, complexity and importance of microscopic life."
Erica Odell, Wildlife Australia Magazine, Winter 2012, pp. 43

"Apart from the fascinating facts it contains about bacteria, fungi, lichens and plants, every page has one or two fantastic 3D pictures taken under an electron microscope."
Harald Saltis, The Helix, p. 34, 2012

"On the third and fourth reading, the detailed, carefully crafted text, with fascinating thoroughly researched information, captures the reader. The facts are interspersed with relevant quotes, diagrams and anecdotes that make these volumes readily accessible to scientists of all ages. In a classroom, these books will enthral students and encourage them to learn more about "the beauty, organisation and diversity" of life. The only challenge for the students will be prying the book from their teacher’s grasp – they are superb."
Dr Heather Meikle, New Zealand Association of Science Educators, pp. 28

"...Kerry Swanson has taken and tried-and-tested pop-up book format and given it a novel twist in three Microscopic Worlds volumes... Instead of cardboard objects that leap up when you turn the page, Swanson’s books include amazing three-dimensional scanning electron microscope images that rise up when you don the (supplied) geeky 3D glasses."
Paul Gorman, The Press - Your Weekend, May 2012

"WOW! What a pleasure it has been to review this magnificent suite of innovative, modern and creative books which do more than just describe: they inspire and grab attention. They bring the 3D perspective to the microscopic world that is so vital for a fuller appreciation and understanding of the living and fossilised microscopic biological world… Not only do the pictures leap out at you but some you just want to touch…. Each time you look at these pictures there is more to see and more questions to ask, surely, the life blood of science. Science is addictive thanks to these books."
Glenn Vallender, Geological Society of NZ Newsletter, 2012


  • New, novel approach to presenting a portrait of components of Earth’s biosphere.
  • Useful teaching tool for science teachers.
  • Contains a pair of 3D glasses.


How and why, and who helped along the way
Why bacteria, fungi, lichens and plants?
Similarities, differences and definitions
Microbial ecosystems
Plant movement
References and further reading


Kerry Swanson is a geologist with over 40 years’ experience in both industry and tertiary science education. He has published more than 50 scientific papers on a group of microscopic crustaceans from the deep-ocean especially, but has more recently become involved in a project examining the diversity and ecology of microscopic animals living in the aquifers of his home province in New Zealand. Kerry is also a freelance motoring journalist and has published three books on motorcycles and cars.