A microscopic view of the development of a sensory organ in zebrafish has won biologists Dr. Mariana Muzzopappa and Jim Swoger first place in this year's Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: This is a video of a zebrafish's lateral line, an inner ear of sorts, developing. Using an imaging technique called Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy, which uses sheets of lights to illuminate sub-cellular activity, Dr. Mariana Muzzopappa and Jim Swoger claimed top honors in this year's Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition. The entry was one of hundreds submitted for the contest, which aims to highlight the latest techniques of scientific imaging. Second place went to Dr. Douglas Clark who used polarized light to create a time-lapse movie showing a microscopic crystals forming on a solution saturated with caffeine. Clark's time-lapse condenses 20 minutes of crystallization into 40 seconds. Third place honors went to Dr. John Hart for a detailed look at oil floating on the surface of water. The video shows pools of water a fraction of the size of a human hair slowly evaporating, as the oil forms larger droplets. This microscopic view of fluid dynamics could offer researchers clues on how better to deal with future oil spills.