1st place: Zebrafish brain
Top honors in the 2012 Nikon Small World contest go to this confocal 20x view of the blood-brain barrier in a zebrafish embryo. The picture was captured by Jennifer Peters and Michael Taylor of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and it’s thought to be the first image showing formation of the blood-brain barrier in a live animal.
The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition has been celebrating the wonders of microscopic realms since 1975. The judges for the 2012 contest sifted through hundreds of entries to come up with their top 20. This 20th-place entry was submitted by the University of Cambridge’s Dorit Hockman. The brightfield image shows three black mastiff bat embryos (Molossus rufu) at progressive stages of development. The wings get longer and the ears get bigger during later stages.
Alvaro Migotto of the University of Sao Paulo won 10th place in the Nikon Small World contest for this 8x view of a brittle star. The image takes advantage of stereomicroscopy and darkfield imaging.
9th place: Taking care of baby
This 5x photomicrograph, which uses reflected light and image stacking, shows an ant carrying its larva. The image, submitted by Geir Drange of Asker, Norway, won ninth place in the Nikon Small World contest.
6th place: Algae on the loose
This colorful 100x view of Cosmarium algae near a Sphagnum leaf was captured in polarized light by Marek Mis of Suwalki, Poland. The picture won sixth-place honors in the Nikon Small World contest.
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