In its ninth year now, the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition has once more brought together some of the most extraordinary microscope images of life science subjects from around the world. Seeing these tiny, nearly hidden objects magnified so greatly, so vividly, can bring home the reality of the invisible microscopic worlds all around us. The winning entries will be on display at the New York Hall of Science through August 31st. The competition sponsors have been gracious enough to share some of the top images here, displaying a compelling mix of art and science.
Seventh prize: Fruit fly ovaries and uterus. The muscular and neural structure of the Drosophila melanogaster reproductive system is shown using fluorescence microscopy. The background staining of the eggs in red is a specific function of the mutant fly strain that is pictured here. Gunnar Newquist, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada. (Olympus BioScapes) #First prize winner: Rotifer Floscularia ringens feeding. Its rapidly beating cilia (hair-like structures) bring water that contains food to the rotifer. The “wheel animacules” were first described by Leeuwenhoek (ca.1702); when their cilia beat, they look like they have two wheels spinning on top. They live in reddish-brown tubes made of spherical “bricks.” Charles Krebs, Issaquah, Washington.(Olympus BioScapes) #Honorable mention: Adult mouse hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in learning and memory. Reactive astroglia (pale yellow) have proliferated and enlarged in response to neuronal activity over time. Dr. Sandra Dieni, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany. (Olympus BioScapes) #Honorable mention: Juvenile live bay scallop Argopecten irradians. The blue spheres are eyes — scallops have up to 100 simple eyes strung around the edges of their mantles. Through research, scientists are trying to help restore scallop populations in Rhode Island. Kathryn Markey, Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island. (Olympus BioScapes) #Honorable mention: Mast cell in human eye with conjunctivitis. This image shows a single mast cell invading conjunctival tissue in response to an inflammatory agent or pathogen. The mast cell contains vesicles of histamine (red dots). Mast cells are among the first cells of the immune system to react to the presence of an invading pathogen and they facilitate the movement of leukocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells toward the site of infection. Donald Pottle, The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. (Olympus BioScapes) #Honorable mention: Underwater image of live coral Montastraea annularis. Note polyp tissue (green) around the mouth and base of the tentacles and zooxanthellae (red fluorescence from chlorophyll) in the tissue between polyps. James Nicholson, NOAA/NOS/NCCOS Center for Coastal Environmental Health & Biomolecular Research, Fort Johnson Marine Lab, Charleston, South Carolina.(Olympus BioScapes) #