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Amazing Image Of Turtle Embryo Wins Nikon Small World Competition

An unbelievably detailed image of a turtle embryo captured using fluorescence and stereo microscopy has won the 45th annual Nikon Small World competition.

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Amazing Image Of Turtle Embryo Wins Nikon Small World Competition: Turtle embryo

Image © Teresa Zgoda & Teresa Kugler

An unbelievable image of a turtle embryo has won the Nikon Small World competition.


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The image was captured using fluorescence and stereo microscopy by microscopy technician Teresa Zgoda and recent university graduate Teresa Kugler. Hundreds of images were stacked and painstakingly stitched together in order to create the overall image. 

A turtle embryo is a tiny object, and the size and thickness made it a difficult subject to photograph. Due to its size, only very small parts of the embryo could be in focus on the image plane at any one time. 

Both Kugler and Zgoda are passionate photomicrographers, saying microscopy is a hobby that allows them to spend time on their dual passions of science and creative pursuits. Their winning image perfectly exemplifies the blend of science and art Nikon Small World aims to bring to the public each year. Zgoda currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Kugler in New York.

"Microscopy lets us zoom in on the smallest organisms and building blocks that comprise our world – giving us a profound appreciation for the small things in life that far too often go unnoticed," said Kugler, "It allows me to do science with a purpose."

"We are inspired by the beautiful images we see through the microscope,” added Zgoda, “It’s humbling and deeply fulfilling to be able to share that science with other people."

Amazing Image Of Turtle Embryo Wins Nikon Small World Competition: single cell freshwater protozoans

Image © Dr. Igor Siwanowicz


 Second place was awarded to Nikon Small World veteran Dr. Igor Siwanowicz for his composite image of three single-cell freshwater protozoans, sometimes called 'trumpet animalcules.' He used confocal microscopy to capture the detail of the cilia, tiny hairs used by the animals for feeding and locomotion.


Amazing Image Of Turtle Embryo Wins Nikon Small World Competition: Americal alligator embryo

Image © Daniel Smith Paredes

In third place is Mr. Daniel Smith Paredes, who placed for his image of a developing American alligator embryo. He snapped this photo at around 20 days of development using immunofluorescence and is studying the development and evolution of vertebrate anatomy.

In addition to the top three winners, Nikon Small World recognized 86 photos out of thousands of entries from scientists and artists across the globe. See all the entries of note on the Nikon Small World website.

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