Best Microscope Photos of the Year

Each year Nikon hosts its Small World microscope photography contest, and this years winning photographs are absolutely stunning. The top images include extreme close ups of spiderlings, the blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo, human bone cancer, and an ant carrying its larvae.

Selected from almost 2,000 submissions, the winning photographs were chosen by a panel of scientists, journalists, and optical imaging experts for their visual impact, originality, and informational content. Take a look at this years 38th Nikon Small World competition top 10 picks, as well as a selection of our favourites.

1st Place: The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo by Jennifer Peters and Michael Taylor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennesseebest microscope photos of the year (1)

2nd Place: Live newborn lynx spiderlings by Walter Piorkowski, South Beloit, Illinoisbest microscope photos of the year (2)

3rd Place: Human bone cancer showing actin filaments (purple), mitochondria (yellow), and DNA (blue) by Dylan Burnette, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Marylandbest microscope photos of the year (3)

4th Place: Drosophila melanogaster visual system halfway through pupal development, showing retina (gold), photoreceptor axons (blue), and brain (green) by W. Ryan Williamson, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginiabest microscope photos of the year (4)

5th Place: Cacoxenite (mineral) from La Paloma Mine, Spain by Honorio Cócera, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spainbest microscope photos of the year (5)

6th Place: Cosmarium sp. (desmid) near a Sphagnum sp. leaf by Marek Mis, Marek Mis Photography, Suwalki, Polandbest microscope photos of the year (6)

7th Place: Eye organ of a Drosophila melanogaster (third-instar larvae) by Michael Bridge, HSC Core Research Facilities — Cell Imaging Lab, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utahbest microscope photos of the year (7)

8th Place: Pleurobrachia sp. (sea gooseberry) larva by Gerd A.Guenther, Düsseldorf, Germanybest microscope photos of the year (8)

9th Place: Myrmica sp. (ant) carrying its larva by Geir Drange, Borgen, Norwaybest microscope photos of the year (9)

10th Place: Brittle star by Alvaro Migotto, University of São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha, São Paulo Brazilbest microscope photos of the year (10)

Coral sand by David Maitland, Feltwell, United Kingdom

Floral primordia of garlic by Somayeh Naghiloo, Department of Plant Biology, University of Tabriz, Iran

Embryos of the black mastiff bat by Dorit Hockman, University of Cambridge researcher

A parasitic wasp looking into the lens of a microsope by Nikola Rahme from Budapest, Hungary

Fruit fly larvae by Dr Andrew Woolley