Image of the Day: Microscopic Creatures
Image of the Day: Microscopic Creatures

Image of the Day: Microscopic Creatures

View the top three winners of this year’s Nikon Small World in Motion Competition.

Dec 12, 2019
Emily Makowski

ABOVE: Acropora muricata coral polyp with purple algae
PHILIPPE P. LAISSUE

On Monday (December 9), Nikon Instruments announced the winners of the ninth annual Nikon Small World in Motion Competition, which recognizes outstanding videos and time-lapse photography taken through a microscope. This year’s first place winner is a video of a polyp emerging from a staghorn coral (Acropora muricata) filmed by Philippe Laissue, a cell biologist and bioimaging specialist at the University of Essex in the UK.

“Coral reefs are in alarming decline due to climate change, pollution and other human-made disturbances. I hope this video shows people the beauty of these organisms while raising awareness of their decline,” Laissue says in a press release.

Purple algae visible inside a budding coral
PHILIPPE P. LAISSUE

Richard Kirby, an independent scientist and filmmaker based in Plymouth, UK, won second place for his video of protozoan Vampyrophrya parasites swimming within their host, a small crustacean called a copepod.

Vampyrophrya parasites swimming inside a copepod
RICHARD R. KIRBY

Coming in third place is a video from father-and-son duo Tommy and Jesse Gunn of a microorganism known as Stylonychia creating a water vortex with its cilia in order to capture food.

Stylonychia forming a water vortex
TOMMY AND JESSE GUNN

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com