If you are here for a first time visit, you may not know why a bug blog is venturing into microscopy. This is driven partially by climate: I live in Alberta Canada, and for about six months of the year we live in freezing conditions that most bugs decline to face. Microscopy (and focus stacking, which I also hope to explore ) is one way for me to explore small worlds in the home, removed from the icy blast. Besides which, as a blog devoted to the little things that often escape our notice, microscopy ranks high as a method for revealing minute splendour.
The winner of the Olympus BioScapes competition was Mr. Ralph Grimm from Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia, with his video of colonial rotifers showing eyespots and corona. These were photographed at magnifications from 200x – 500x, with differential interference contrast technique.
For more evidence of small wonders, go take a look at the results of the Olympus BioScapes competition, an annual event that features images produced by some of the world’s top photomicrographers. These are amazing photographs, most of which require patience and a skill set that most macro photographers would be amazed by – and as any photomacrographer would tell you, good macro photography is hard work! As usual, a good share of the featured images are of invertebrates, and a few are of insects and other arthropods. Below are some examples that stood out for me:
Mr. James Nicholson
NOAA/NOS/NCCOS Center for Coastal Environmental Health & Biomolecular Research
Fort Johnson Marine Lab, Charleston, SC, USA
Specimen: Live mushroom coral Fungia sp. Close-up of mouth during expansion.
Dr. Christian Sardet and Mr. Sharif Mirshak
The Plankton Chronicles Project
Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Specimen: Claw of crustacean amphipode Phronima sp. Muscles and rows of pigment cells (melanocytes) are visible.
Mr. Charles Krebs
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Specimen: Butterfly “Prola Beauty” (Panacea prola) wing scales, 200X.
Technique: Diffused reflected illumination
Dr. Victor Chepurnov
Algae R&D Office
Specimen: Living freshwater diatom cells in a drop of water. Two species, are visible: Cyclotella meneghiniana (tablet shaped) andNitzschia palea (long).
Technique: Differential interference contrast
Mr. Michael Crutchley
Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
Specimen: Daphnia (water flea), captured using image stacking.
Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus
Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Specimen: Oak lace bug (Corythucha arcuata), a common oak pest. Dorsal view of bug ca. 3mm long.
Technique: Confocal microscopy
Visit the Olympus BioScapes web page for more, and larger, images.
I can only dream of being able to make images of the quality that is presented in BioScapes, where subject preparation, objective (lens) quality and lighting technique require a high degree of precision and sometimes expensive technology. However, I hope to at least capture a little of the wonder of the micro world this winter.