Planet Earth

Big Images From A Small World

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Photo Credits: Ryo Egawa

Though appearing more like a cluster of colorful balloons, this 30x image from Nagoya University shows individually-labeled axons in an embryonic chick ciliary ganglion, part of the eye’s nerve structure.

Photo Credits: David A. Johnston

The complex structure of lily pollen shows up in this image magnified 63 times.

Photo Credits: Charles Krebs

The eye of a daddy longlegs, or harvestman, magnified 20 times. Unlike real arachnids, daddy longlegs only have one set of eyes.

Photo Credits: Christian Gautier

It might be a nice pattern for nautical pajamas, but these tiny anchors are actually ossicles from sea cucumber skin. Magnified 100x, the ossicles are calcareous and thought to offer some protection to juveniles.

Photo Credits: David Millard

These tiny eggs, magnified 7.5 times, were laid on a noseburn plant by a mestra butterfly.

Photo Credits: Havi Sarfaty, Yahud-Monoson, Israel

The feathery pappus on the groundsel seed head are ready for wind dispersal as seen at 2x in the second-place image.

Photo Credits: Bram van den Broek, Andriy Volkov, Kees Jalink, Nicole Schwarz and Reinhard Windoffer

A terrifying tapeworm, Pacman in an algae colony, and the tiny ossicles of sea cucumber skin are just a few of the remarkable details revealed in the winning images of the 43rd annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.

Bram van den Broek and colleagues at the Netherlands Cancer Institute took first place for their photo of a skin cell displaying an excessive amount of keratin (pictured here). They took the photo during the course of research into the dynamics of keratin filaments in skin cells. “By studying the ways different proteins like keratin dynamically change within a cell, we can better understand the progression of cancers and other diseases,” they say.

The contest drew more than 2,000 entries from 88 countries. Judging the entries were Bob Goldman of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Robert Krulwich, science correspondent for National Public Radio, Dave Mosher, science and technology correspondent for Business Insider, and Clare Waterman, of the Laboratory of Cell and Tissue Morphodynamics at the National Institute of Health.

A gallery at the Nikon Small World website includes the winners, honorable mentions and images of distinction.

Photo Credits: Jean-Marc Babalian

Jean-Marc Babalian of Nantes, France captured this 3rd place picture of Volvox algae releasing its daughter colonies. Remind you of anything?

Photo Credits: Dean Lerman

A simple spot of mold stands out in bold contrast against the red skin of a tomato.

Photo Credits: Teresa Zgoda

This terrifying image of a tapeworm face took 4th. Those aren't eyes though, they're suckers.

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