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Amazing Mother Nature, as Seen Through the Microscope
From stink bug eggs to fruit fly ovaries, it's Mother Nature from a completely new perspective. The winning pictures from the 2011 Olympus BioScapes photography contest show life as never before -- up close, through a microscope. 

Olympus BioSpaces 2012 Winners

This year’s winning images reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology, chosen for their scientific and technical merit as well as the beauty and impact of the images. Some of the images are purely scientific; others reflect our endless fascination with the little things in life.

Browse the whole gallery at OlympusBioscapes.com, or -- if you think you have what it takes -- submit an image for the 2012 contest.

Olympus BioSpaces

2011_10_Guenther_nostock_alga_colonies

10th Place Winner

Subject: Spherical colonies of bluegreen algae (Nostoc commune)

Technique: Darkfield illumination

Gerd Guenther / Olympus BioScapes

2011_9_Bettighofer_diatom_opens_to_21mb

9th Place Winner

Subject: Living diatom Mediopyxis helysia, showing the cell nuclei and golden chloroplasts.

Technique: Brightfield

Wolfgang Bettighofer / Olympus BioScapes

2011_8_Oldenbourg_LaFountain_spermatocytes_meiosis

8th Place Winner

Subject: Crane fly (Nephrotoma suturalis) sperm cell dividing (metaphase of meiosis)

Technique: Polarized light microscopy, 60x objective

James LaFountain and Rudolf Oldenbourg / Olympus BioScapes

2011_7_Newquist_fruit_fly_flower

7th Place Winner

Subject: Fruit fly (Drosophila) ovaries and uterus

Technique: Fluorescence

Gunnar Newquist / Olympus BioScapes

2011_6_Antonopoulos_stink_bug_eggs

6th Place Winner

Subject: Stink bug eggs

Technique: Brightfield illumination

Haris Antonopoulos / Olympus BioScapes

2011_5_Nicholson_coral__brilliant

5th Place Winner

Subject: Live coral Goniastrea sp., known as green brain coral. One full polyp in the center is shown with four surrounding polyps.

Technique: Phase contrast illumination

James Nicholson of NOAA/NOS/NCCOS, Charleston, S.C. / Olympus BioScapes

4_Lee_Paramecia_Contractile_Vacuoles_400X

4th Place Winner

Subject: Paramecia contractile vacuoles, which regulate water pressure within the protozoan's body

Technique: Phase contrast illumination

Edwin Lee / Olympus BioScapes

3bioscapes

3rd Place Winner

Subject: COS-7 cell membrane. Cells of this type are often transfected for biochemistry and cell biology research

Technique: Bessel beam super-resolution structured illumination microscopy

Dr. Liang Gao / Olympus BioScapes

2011_2_von_Wangenheim_root_growing_movie

2nd Place Winner

Subject: Lateral plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) root growing out of the primary root

Technique: Digital scanned light-sheet microscope

Daniel von Wangenheim / Olympus BioScapes

2011_1_Krebs_Rotifer_4mb

1st Place Winner

Subject: Rotifer Floscularia ringens feeding. Its rapidly beating cilia (hair-like structures) bring water containing food to the rotifer

Technique: Differential interference contrast microscopy

Charles Krebs / Olympus BioScapes

2010_Bioscapes_Intro

Last year's winners featured specimens like mushrooms, fish scales, and even red wine.

Olympus BioScapes

10th_Place_Laurie_Knight

10th Place Winner

Subject: Weevil (possibly Curculio nucum or Curculio glandium). 

Technique: Image captured using episcopic illumination. 

Laurie Knight / Olympus BioScapes

9th_Place_Yanping_Wang

9th Place Winner

Subject: Wildflower seeds. 

Technique: Image captured using brightfield reflected light.

Yanping Wang / Olympus BioScapes

8th_Place_Dr__Jan_Michels

8th Place Winner

Subject: Beetle leg. 

Technique: Lateral view of the adhesive pad of the first leg of a beetle (Clytus sp.), captured using autofluorescence.

Dr. Jan Michels / Olympus BioScapes

7th_Place_Dr__Igor_Siwanowicz

7th Place Winner

Subject: Eye of a common blue damselfly. 

Technique: This projection of a series of confocal microscope images shows the regular, crystal-like architecture of the eye of the Enallagma cyathigerum, an active visual predator and a swift flyer. The area covered in the photo measures approximately 0.6 x 0.8mm; the image is a composite of two overlapping confocal image stacks.

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz / Olympus BioScapes

6th_Place_Dr__Jerzy_Gubernator

6th Place Winner

Subject: Spirogyra algae. 

Technique: Brightfield and polarized light.

Dr. Jerzy Gubernator / Olympus BioScapes

5th_Place_Dr_M_R__Dadpour

5th Place Winner

Subject: Primordium (bud) of the weedy flower Tribulus sp. at its final stages of development. 

Technique: More than 100 z-stacks were combined to produce the final image, which was captured using epi-illumination.

Dr. M.R. Dadpour / Olympus BioScapes

4th_Place_Wolfgang_Bettighofer

4th Place Winner

Subject: Living Licmophora juegensii on red alga, together with the diatom Cocconeis and filamentous cyanobacterial colonies. 

Technique: Licmophora cells can move to locate a place with suitable light exposure. They then produce a mucilaginous stalk to hold themselves in place. This multi-layer image was captured using differential interference contrast. 

Wolfgang Bettighofer / Olympus BioScapes

3rd_Place_James_Nicholson

3rd Place Winner 

Subject: Solitary coral, Fungia sp. 

Technique: The tentacle tips, called acrospheres, are visibly enhanced using a technique developed for doing epifluorescence without a barrier filter. 

James Nicholson / Olympus BioScapes

2nd_Place_Thomas_Deerinck

2nd Place Winner

Subject: Rat brain. 

Technique: Widefield multiphoton fluorescence image stained to reveal the distribution of glia (cyan), neurofilaments (green) and cell nuclei (yellow) in the hippocampus.

Thomas Deerinck / Olympus BioScapes

1st_place_Dr__Igor_Siwanowicz

1st Place Winner

Subject: The eyes of a daddy longlegs (Harvestman), showing the lenses (two large ovals), retinas and optic nerves. 

Technique: The image is a depth color-coded projection of a confocal image stack.

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz / Olympus BioScapes

Amazing Mother Nature, as Seen Through the Microscope

From stink bug eggs to fruit fly ovaries, it's Mother Nature from a completely new perspective. The winning pictures from the 2011 Olympus BioScapes photography contest show life as never before -- up close, through a microscope. 

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