PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition

The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope. (Photo courtesy of Nikon)

Nikon Instruments Inc. today announced the winners of the forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. First place was awarded to microscopy technician Teresa Zgoda and recent university graduate Teresa Kugler for their visually stunning and painstakingly prepared photo of a turtle embryo. Captured using fluorescence and stereo microscopy, the colorful final image is a masterful example of image-stitching.

Image-stitching is an imaging technique that required the 2019 winning pair to stack and stitch together hundreds of images to create the final image of their turtle. Adding to the challenge was the size and thickness of the turtle embryo. Creating the final image required precision, patience, and deep imaging expertise, as the organism’s size meant only very small parts of the turtle could be imaged on the focal plane at a time.

Both Kugler and Zgoda are passionate micro-photographers, saying microscopy is a hobby that allows them to spend time on their dual passions of science and creative pursuits. Their winning image perfectly exemplifies the blend of science and art Nikon Small World aims to bring to the public each year. Zgoda currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Kugler in New York.

“Microscopy lets us zoom in on the smallest organisms and building blocks that comprise our world – giving us a profound appreciation for the small things in life that far too often go unnoticed,” said Kugler, “It allows me to do science with a purpose.”

“We are inspired by the beautiful images we see through the microscope,” added Zgoda, “It’s humbling and deeply fulfilling to be able to share that science with other people.”

“The Nikon Small World competition has been bringing stunning scientific images to the public for 45 years now,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments, “Our goal has always been to show the world how art and science intersect. As new imaging and microscopy techniques develop over the years, our winners showcase these technology advances more and more creatively. First place this year is no exception.”

Second place was awarded to Nikon Small World veteran Dr. Igor Siwanowicz for his composite image of three single-cell freshwater protozoans, sometimes called "trumpet animalcules.” He used confocal microscopy to capture the detail of the cilia, tiny hairs used by the animals for feeding and locomotion.

In third place is Mr. Daniel Smith Paredes, who placed for his image of a developing American alligator embryo. He snapped this photo at around 20 days of development using immunofluorescence and is studying the development and evolution of vertebrate anatomy.

In addition to the top three winners, Nikon Small World recognized 86 photos out of thousands of entries from scientists and artists across the globe. (Nikon)

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1st Place

Teresa Zgoda & Teresa Kugler

Campbell Hall, New York, USA

Fluorescent turtle embryo Stereomicroscopy, Fluorescence

5x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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2nd Place

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Janelia Research Campus Ashburn, Virginia, USA

Depth-color coded projections of three stentors (single-cell freshwater protozoans)

Confocal 40x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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3rd Place

Daniel Smith Paredes & Dr. Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar

Yale University Department of Geology and Geophysics

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Alligator embryo developing nerves and skeleton

Immunofluorescence 10x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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4th Place

Jan Rosenboom

University Rostock

Rostock, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Germany

Male mosquito

Focus Stacking

6.3x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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5th Place

Caleb Foster

Caleb Foster Photography Jericho, Vermont, USA

Snowflake

Transmitted Light

4x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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6th Place

6th Place Javier Rupérez Almáchar, Málaga, Spain Small white hair spider Reflected Light, Image Stacking 20x (Objective Lens Magnification) (Photo courtesy of Nikon)

Javier Rupérez

Almáchar, Málaga, Spain

Small white hair spider

Reflected Light, Image Stacking

20x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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7th Place

Dr. Guillermo López Alicante, Spain

Chinese red carnation stamen

Focus Stacking

3x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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8th Place

Garzon Christian

Quintin, Cotes-d’Armor, France

Frozen water droplet

Incident Light

8x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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9th Place

Andrei Savitsky

Cherkassy, Ukraine

Tulip bud cross section

Reflected Light

1x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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10th Place

Jason M. Kirk

Baylor College of Medicine

Optical Imaging & Vital Microscopy Core

Houston, Texas, USA

BPAE cells in telophase stage of mitosis

Confocal with Enhanced Resolution

63x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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11th Place

Dr. Yujun Chen & Dr. Jocelyn McDonald

Kansas State University, Department of Biology Manhattan, Kansas, USA

A pair of ovaries from an adult Drosophila female stained for F-actin (yellow) and nuclei (green); follicle cells are marked by GFP (magenta)

Confocal

10x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

__________________________

12th Place

Anne Algar Hounslow,

Middlesex, United Kingdom

Mosquito larva

Darkfield, Polarizing Light, Image Stacking

4x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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13th Place

Dr. Emilio Carabajal Márquez

Madrid, Spain

Cuprite (mineral composed of copper oxide)

Focus Stacking

20x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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14th Place

Antoine Franck

CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development

Saint Pierre, Réunion

Female Oxyopes dumonti (lynx) spider

Focus Stacking

1x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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15th Place

Marek Miś

Marek Miś Photography

Suwalki, Podlaskie, Poland

Pregnant Daphnia magna (small planktonic crustacean)

Modified Darkfield, Polarized Light, Image Stacking

4x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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16th Place

Dr. Razvan Cornel Constantin

Bucharest, Romania

Housefly compound eye pattern

Focus Stacking, Reflected Light

50x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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17th Place

Karl Deckart

Eckental, Bavaria, Germany

Vitamin C Brightfield, Polarized Light

4x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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18th Place

E. Billie Hughes

Lotus Gemology

Bangkok, Thailand

Cristobalite crystal suspended in its quartz mineral host

Darkfield

40x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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19th Place

Martyna Lukoseviciute & Dr. Carrie Albertin

University of Oxford

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine

Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom Octopus bimaculoides embryo

Confocal, Image Stitching

5x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)

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20th Place

Simon Merz, Lea Bornemann & Sebastian Korste

University Hospital Essen

Institute for Experimental Immunology & Imaging Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Blood vessels of a murine (mouse) heart following myocardial infarction (heart attack)

Tissue Clearing, Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy

2x (Objective Lens Magnification)

(Photo courtesy of Nikon)


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