THE 2012 Olympus Bioscapes microphotography competition has been won by a video showing the feeding habits of freshwater rotifers.
The video was made by Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Jimboomba, Australia, who beat off stiff competition from over 2000 entries.
His video shows the rotifers, captured from a lily leaf in his own garden pond, and clearly illustrates the rapid movements of the tiny hair-like cilia which sweep food into their mouths. The red dots are the animals’ eyes, while internal organs are also visible.
Mr Grimm used differential interference contrast illumination to film the 58-second movie, and collects US$5000 worth of Olympus equipment for his trouble.
Olympus says this year’s winning still images and videos reflect the directions of contemporary research, particularly in neuroscience and cell biology, and offer amazing glimpses of life on a microscopic scale captured by professional researchers as well as hobbyists, students, and photographers.
This is the Olympus BioScapes competition’s ninth year, and entries are already open for the tenth competition. Entries can be of any life science subject made using any brand of light microscope.
The 2012 competition produced ten top awards and a further 62 honorable mentions. Second prize went to Arlene Wechezak of Anacortes, Washington, USA, for an image of branching red algae.
The third place winner, Igor Siwanowicz of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Virginia, USA, also struck a record for the number of prizes awarded. His third place was won by a confocal image of sporangia on a fern, and four other entries each received honourable mentions. Competitors can submit a maximum of five entries each.