Award-Winning Pictures Of The Tiniest Things On Earth

fern sporesFern spores

This incredible image of fern spores is just one of the many mind-blowing images that won the Olympus BioScapes Imaging Competition in 2012. Here are the top 10 images and videos captured by life-science researchers.

See the winning images >
The first prize winner, Ralph Grimm, took home $5,000 worth of Olympus equipment for his first-place video of tiny creatures known as rotifers.

“These fascinating and beautiful images tell important stories that shed light on the living universe around us, showing us the intimate structures and dynamic events of life in ways that we cannot ordinarily see,” Brad Burklow, of Olympus, said in a press release. “BioScapes movies and still images remind us of the fascination and beauty of the natural world, and highlight important work going on in laboratories across the globe.”

The winners were announced yesterday, Dec. 16. You can see all the runners up on the Olympus website. A selection of these images and movies will be displayed on a museum tour this year.

Ralph Grimm caught this movie of Rotifers, snagging first prize. Rotifers are tiny creatures that live in freshwater environments around the world. The constant movements of the hair-like cillia sweep food into their mouths.

Arlene Wechezak snapped this image of red algae. The image shows its reproductive machinery.

Igor Siwanowicz took this image of a common East-coast fern. It shows a cluster of spore-filled reproductive units and the specialised protective hairs around it.

Christian Sardet and Sharif Mirshak took this picture of the claw of a crustacean that shows the muscles inside the claw and rows of pigment cells insider the shell.

Rogelio Moreno Gill stacked 22 images to get this picture of a single-celled green algae from a lake.

James Nicholson took this close-up of a live mushroom coral. Its mouth is in the process of expanding and the colour comes from the coral glowing.

Christian Klambt and Imke Schmidt got this image of a fruit fly brain by marking the structural proteins of the cells. It shows the developing eye disks as well.

Edwin Lee got this image of the male reproductive parts of the Henbit, and annual plant that is something regarded as a weed.

Sahar Khodaverdi got this image of the seed of the flowering plant Delphinium.

See more great images from other science photo contests.

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