Stunning Marine Diatom "Portrait" Takes First Place in 2013 Nikon Small World Competition

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MELVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nikon is pleased to reveal winners of the 2013 annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first prize to longtime competitor Wim van Egmond of The Netherlands for his image Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom). A freelance photographer and artist with a passion for aquatic microorganisms, Egmond sought to blend art and science to capture the complexity and stunning detail of this fragile helical chain.

Along with Egmond, over 100 other winners from around the world were recognized this year for excellence in photomicrography, sometimes for multiple entries. As always, winning images were selected for displaying both artistic quality and masterful scientific technique.

"This competition brings together some of the top talent from around the world, from all walks of life and scientific disciplines, with more and more incredible entries submitted each year," said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. "After 39 years we are proud to watch the competition continue to grow, allowing us to honor this pool of talented researchers, artists, and photomicrographers, and showcase the importance and beauty of the work they do in the realm of scientific imaging."

First place winner Wim van Egmond is one of Small World's top photomicrographers, with now twenty still images recognized as finalists throughout the last decade. To capture the great complexity and detail of his winning diatom in three-dimensions, Egmond employed a partial image stack of more than 90 images. Foregoing traditional bright, saturated colors, he adjusted the illumination to create a subdued, blue background to contrast with the natural yellow-brown color of the diatom.

"I approach micrographs as if they are portraits. The same way you look at a person and try to capture their personality, I observe an organism and try to capture it as honestly and realistically as possible," said Egmond of his winning image. "At the same time, this image is about form, rhythm and composition. The positioning of the helix, the directions of the bristles, the subdued colors and contrast all bring together a balance that is both dynamic and tranquil."

While the top five images this year vary greatly in subject matter, technique and scientific discipline, they all prove to demonstrate the artistic skill and technical prowess of the photomicrographers behind them.

Top Five Images:

  1. Mr. Wim van Egmond, Micropolitan Museum, Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), a colonial plankton organism
  2. Dr. Joseph Corbo, Washington University School of Medicine, Chrysemys picta (painted turtle) retina
  3. Dr. Alvaro Esteves Migotto, Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha, Marine worm
  4. Mr. Rogelio Moreno Gill, Paramecium sp. showing the nucleus, mouth and water expulsion vacuoles
  5. Dr. Kieran Boyle, University of Glasgow, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, Hippocampal neuron receiving excitatory contacts

The distinguished judges from this year's exceptional panel are, as always, comprised of some of the most prominent and distinguished minds working in the scientific community and science journalism today. The team charged with selecting the 2013 Nikon Small World winning images includes:

  • Dr. Ron Vale, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California – San Francisco (UCSF); Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Founder, iBioSeminars.Org.
  • Dr. Joan Ruderman, President and Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory
  • Alan Taylor, Senior Editor, The Atlantic's "In Focus"
  • Cara Santa Maria, science communicator; Co-host & Producer, TakePart Live on Pivot
  • Eric Clark, Research Coordinator and Applications Developer at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University
  • Michael W. Davidson, Director of the Optical and Magneto-Optical Imaging Center at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University

Top images from the 2013 Nikon Small World Competition will be exhibited in a full-color calendar and through a national museum tour. For additional information, please visit, or follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @NikonSmallWorld.


The following are the Top 20 and Honorable Mentions for Nikon Small World 2013. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction can be viewed at

1st Place
Mr. Wim van Egmond
Micropolitan Museum
Berkel en Rodenrijs, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands
Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), a colonial plankton organism
Differential Interference Contrast, Image Stacking
2nd Place
Dr. Joseph Corbo
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Chrysemys picta (painted turtle) retina
Differential Interference Contrast
3rd Place
Dr. Alvaro Esteves Migotto
Universidade de São Paulo, Centro de Biologia Marinha
São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Marine worm
Stereomicroscopy, Darkfield
4th Place
Mr. Rogelio Moreno Gill
Panama City, Panamá
Paramecium sp. showing the nucleus, mouth and water expulsion vacuoles
Differential Interference Contrast
5th Place
Dr. Kieran Boyle
University of Glasgow, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Hippocampal neuron receiving excitatory contacts
Fluorescence and Confocal
6th Place
Miss Dorit Hockman
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, UK
Chamaeleo calyptratus (veiled chameleon), embryo showing cartilage (blue) and bone (red)
7th Place
Dr. Jan Michels
Institute of Zoology, Functional Morphology and Biomechanics, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Kiel, Germany
Adhesive pad on a foreleg of Coccinella septempunctata (ladybird beetle)
Confocal, Autofluorescence
8th Place
Ms. Magdalena Turzańska
University of Wrocław
Institute of Experimental Biology, Department of Plant Developmental Biology, University of Wrocław
Wrocław, Poland
Barbilophozia sp. (a leafy liverwort, bryophyte plant) and cyanobacteria
Epi-autofluorescence under UV light, z-stack reconstruction
9th Place
Mr. Mark A. Sanders
University Imaging Centers, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Insect wrapped in spider web
Confocal, Autofluorescence, Image Stacking
10th Place
Mr. Ted Kinsman
Department of Imaging and Photo Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York, USA
Thin section of a dinosaur bone preserved in clear agate
Focus Stacking
11th Place
Miss Vitoria Tobias Santos
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigo Evo Devo Group
Macaé, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Macrobrachium shrimp (ghost shrimp) eye
12th Place
Dr. Pedro Barrios-Perez
CPFC (nanofabrication), National Research Council of Canada/Information and Communication Technologies
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Silicon dioxide on polydimethylglutarimide-based resist
Bright field microscopy
13th Place
Dr. Michael Paul Nelson and Samantha Smith
Department of Pathology/Neuropathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Mouse vertebra section
Focus Stacking
14th Place
Mr. Zhong Hua
Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Peripheral nerves in E11.5 mouse embryo
15th Place
Dr. Christian Q. Scheckhuber
Goethe University
Frankfurt, Germany
Podospora anserina (fungus) filamentous tip cells
16th Place
Mr. Geir Drange
Asker, Norway
Pityohyphantes phrygianus (sheet weaver spider) with a parasitic wasp larva on the abdomen
Reflected Light, Focus Stacking
17th Place
Dr. Alexandre William Moreau
Institute of Neurology, University College London
London, UK
Pyramidal neurons and their dendrites visualized in the visual cortex of a mouse brain
2-Photon, Focus Stacking, Fluorescence, Patch clamp
18th Place
Mr. Christian Sardet
Department of Life Sciences, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Annelid larva
19th Place
Dr. David Ward
Oakdale, California, USA
Nerve and muscle thin section
Brightfield, Image Stacking
20th Place
Dr. James Burchfield
The Garvan Institute
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The explosive dynamics of sugar transport in fat cells
Live Cell Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence
Mr. Thomas Balla
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Crystal formation of sulfosalicylic acid, a chemical used in medicine
Polarized Light
Dr. Michael J. Boyle
Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Marine Station
Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
The pelagosphera larva of Nephasoma pellucidum (peanut worm) after four days of development
Mr. Geir Drange
Asker, Norway
The egg sack of a pirate spider (Ero sp.)
Reflected Light, Focus Stacking
Dr. Tomokazu Kawashima
Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
Singapore, Singapore
Mature Arabidopsis (thale cress) embryo sac showing the central cell F-actin (cyan, surface rendered), the egg cell nucleus (yellow) and the synergid cells (magenta)
Confocal, Image Stacking
Mr. Charles Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Peacock feather section
Reflected Light
Mr. Frederic Labaune
Education Nationale
Auxonne, France
Crystallization of tartrazine (dye primarily used as a food coloring)
Differential Interference Contrast
Dr. Mariela Loschi
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Detail of the microtubules and nucleus in a COS-7 (Cercopithecus aethiops kidney, SV40 transformed) cultured cell
Dr. David Maitland
Feltwell, Norfolk, UK
Radula (rasping organ) of the mollusc Buccinum undatum (Common Whelk)
Differential Interference Contrast
Dr. Bryan A. Millis
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Laboratory of Cell Structure and Dynamics, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Small intestinal section from a mouse expressing GFP-tagged non-muscle myosin II
Large format image stitch using swept-field confocal fluorescence microscopy
Mr. Waldo Nell
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Crystallized purple food dye
Dr. Csaba Pintér
Keszthely, Zala, Hungary
Cynoglossum officinale (gypsy flower) seeds
Focus Stacking
Mr. Nikola Rahme
Budapest, Hungary
Flat bark beetle - part of the head and prothorax with phoretic mites.
Reflected Light
Dr. Andrew J. Woolley, Himanshi Desai and Kevin Otto
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Adult mouse foot showing blood vessels, immune cells and soft tissues

About Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

The Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in photography. Participants may submit their images in traditional 35mm format, or upload digital images directly at For additional information, contact Nikon Small World, Nikon Instruments Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747, USA or phone (631) 547-8569. Entry forms for Nikon's 2014 Small World Competition may also be downloaded from

About Nikon Instruments Inc.

Nikon Instruments, Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical applications. Now in its 96th year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, precision measuring equipment, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is the microscopy and instrumentation arm of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Trisha Bruynell Peppercomm 212-931-6129

Source: Nikon Instruments