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Olympus BioScapes 2009 Winners
By Matt J. Weiss, December 2, 2009 @ 10:27 AM (EST)
So these may not be underwater photographs and this isn't an underwater photography competition, but some of the winners of the Olympus BioScapes 2009 contest feature life underwater photographed in ways that I am willing to bet you have never seen before.

The Olympus BioScapes contest is an international photo competition that honors the world's most extraordinary microscope images of life science subjects. The images are truly extraordinary and they clearly demonstrate the bond between science and art. You don't have to be a hardcore scientist to enjoy the winning images.  

It shouldn't be surprising to any of us that many of the winning images are of aquatic or ocean life. The 1st place winner (below) is of a water flea, and 6 of the top 10 winners come from the underwater world.

Water flea Daphnia atkinsoni. This specimen has a "crown of thorns," a defensive trait induced in offspring only when the parents sense chemical cues released by one of their main predators, the tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis. The water flea´s exoskeleton (exterior structure, green) and subcellular details within the organism (nuclei - tiny blue dots) are both visible. Dr. Jan Michels, Department of Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Institute of Zoology, Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, Germany. First Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.

When I was looking at top 10 images in the press material I noticed a name very famaliar to me -- Dr. David Domozych, the 5th place winner. Dr. David Domozych is Director of the Microscopy Imaging Center and a professor in the biology department at Skidmore College where I graduated from this spring.  

Dr. Domozych and his wife, Cathy,  taught the first marine biology class I ever took and are a major reason I love the ocean so much. He was also my faculty adviser for my senior research project and taught me to use many of the microscopes that were used to make the contests winning images.  I did not know he had even entered the contest, but having seen his images I wasn't surprised to see he had won. Thanks for everything Dr. D,  and congrats on the win!
Unicellular alga Penium, treated with the microtubule poison oryzalin. David Domozych, Department of Biology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA. Fifth Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®

Here are a sample of some of the winning images that have to do with the underwater world. I suggest you look at the complete gallery of winners, as there are many more amazing images and some really nice videos, including one of coral eating.
 
Winning Images
 
Fresh water algae Haematococcus pluvialis, 100x. Phase contrast microscopy. Charles Krebs, Issaquah, WA, USA. Fourth Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Tentacle of Portuguese Man o' War, Physalia physalis, 30x. Notorious for its painful, powerful sting, the Portuguese Man o' War has a gas-filled floating chamber that supports the tentacles, which bear sting cells. Shown are the pink batteries of stinging cells and a delicate muscular band responsible for the high contractibility of the tentacles. Alvaro Migotto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Sixth Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Sensory axons (long, slender nerve fibers) covering the tail of a 3- day-old larval zebrafish.  "Brainbow" image using confocal microscopy.  In the Brainbow technique, cells randomly choose combinations of red, yellow and cyan fluorescent proteins, so that they each glow a particular color.  This provides a way to distinguish neighboring cells of the nervous system and follow their pathways.  Albert Pan, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.  Seventh Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Atlantic salmon embryos. Haruka Fujimaki, Bryant Pond, ME, USA.  Ninth Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.

 Honorable Mentions
 
Fossil of red sponge coral, captured at 20x. Norm Barker, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, USA.  Honorable Mention, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Squid embryo (Loligo peali) releasing ink into surrounding seawater. Rachel Fink, Mount Holyoke College, Department of Biological Sciences, South Hadley, MA, USA.  Honorable Mention, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula, captured at 10x.  A ferocious predator, it may also be  the world's only "biologically immortal" creature. Good photographs of these jellyfish are rare. They have to be photographed alive; besides being very small and transparent, they shrink and lose color when preserved. Alvaro Migotto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Honorable Mention, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®
 
Shark parasite with suction cups shown in red. Marco Antonio Ramírez, Gustavo A. Madero D.F., Mexico.  Honorable Mention, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.
 
Congratulations to all the winners.
 

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