Nikon Small World Competition Celebrates 40th Anniversary With "Jaw-Dropping" Winning Image of Open-Mouthed Rotifer

MELVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nikon Instruments, Inc. is pleased to reveal the winners of the 40th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first prize to veteran competitor Rogelio Moreno of Panama for capturing a rarely seen image of a rotifer's open mouth interior and heart-shaped corona. A computer system programmer by occupation, Moreno is a self-taught microscopist whose photomicrograph serves to show just how close the beauty and wonder of the micro-world truly is - not just for scientists, but anyone willing to open their eyes and look for it.

Moreno is recognized along with over 80 other winners from around the world for excellence in photomicrography. Winners from Italy, the United States, Austria, Spain and Australia also ranked in the top ten, for exceptional images selected based on both artistic quality and masterful scientific technique.

"Since the competition began 40 years ago, the caliber in quality and range of subject matter of the images, is matched only by the scientists and photographers who submit them," said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. "So much has changed in science and technology in the past forty years, opening the door for more and more scientists and artists alike to capture and share their stunning images with the world. A look at our gallery is like a time capsule of the advancements made in the last four decades and truly shows the legacy a Nikon Small World continues to build."

While the top images cover a variety of subject matter, each one exhibits the exemplary technique, scientific discipline and artistry for which Nikon Small World is known.

Rogelio Moreno is a first-time first-place winner of the Small World competition, though he has placed each time he has entered the contest starting three years ago. That success is a testament to his incredible skill, as he only began taking photomicrographs in 2009.

Judges awarded Moreno's shot of a rotifer caught open-mouthed and facing the camera – for its exemplary technique. Capturing the perfect moment when the rotifer opened its mouth for the camera required extreme patience from Moreno, who watched for hours waiting for his opportunity. With the rotifer in constant motion, he utilized the flash to freeze the movement as soon as the mouth opened – still leaving him with only a one- or two-second window to take the photo, and possibly only one shot to get it right. He also used differential interference contrast (DIC) to enhance the coloration in unstained, transparent samples, and to provide a more detailed image of the rotifer.

"When you see that movement, you fall in love. I thought - wow, that is amazing. I can't believe what I'm seeing. This is something very, very beautiful," said Moreno of his winning image. "I hope now it can inspire others as much as it has inspired me – to learn about science, to look closely and notice something truly amazing."

As the 2014 winner, Moreno joins the ranks of 36 other photomicrographers, artists and scientists from all over the world who have taken the top prize. This year's competition received over 1,200 entries from more than 79 countries around the world.

Now that the judges' top images for the 40th Nikon Small World Competition have been announced, it is the public's turn to select their favorites. Nikon is hosting an online popular vote to select the best first-place winner from the past four decades. To participate and vote for your favorite, visit

Top Five Images:

1. Mr. Rogelio Moreno, Rotifer showing the mouth interior and heart shaped corona

2. Mr. Alessandro Da Mommio, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Rhombohedral cleavage in calcite crystal

3. Noah Fram-Schwartz, Jumping Spider Eyes

4. Ms. Karin Panser, Institute of Molecular Pathology I.M.P., Caterpillar proleg with circle of gripping hooks in red

5. Dr. Muthugapatti K. Kandasamy, Biomedical Microscopy Core, University of Georgia, Bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells stained for actin (pink), mitochondria (green) and DNA (yellow)

The exceptional panel of judges who select the winning images has a tradition of including some of the most distinguished names working in the scientific community and science journalism today. For the 40th anniversary, the team selected with determining the 2014 Nikon Small World winning images includes:

  • Dr. Paul Maddox, Assistant Professor and William Burwell Harrison Fellow, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Principal Investigator, Mitotic Mechanisms and Chromosome Dynamics research unit, IRIC
  • Laura Helmuth, Science Editor, Slate
  • Dave Mosher, Online Director, Popular Science
  • Michael W. Davidson, Director of the Optical and Magneto-Optical Imaging Center at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary, Nikon hosted an exclusive event at The New York Academy of Sciences on Wednesday, October 29th. The 2014 winning images were first unveiled to those in attendance, including Moreno.

Top images from the 2014 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 2014. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction can be viewed at

1st Place
Mr. Rogelio Moreno
Panama, Panama
Rotifer showing the mouth interior and heart shaped corona
Differential Interference Contrast
2nd Place
Mr. Alessandro Da Mommio
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa
Pisa, Italy
Rhombohedral cleavage in calcite crystal
Crossed Polars
3rd Place
Noah Fram-Schwartz
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
Jumping Spider Eyes
Reflected Light
4th Place
Ms. Karin Panser
Institute of Molecular Pathology I.M.P.
Vienna, Austria
Caterpillar proleg with circle of gripping hooks in red
Confocal, Autofluorescence
5th Place
Dr. Muthugapatti K. Kandasamy
Biomedical Microscopy Core, University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, USA
Bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells stained for actin (pink), mitochondria (green) and DNA (yellow)
Super Resolution Microscopy
6th Place
Dr. Douglas Brumley
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Active fluid flow around P. damicornis (coral polyp)
Fluorescence, Autofluorescence
7th Place
Mr. Dennis Hinks
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Circuitry in DVD reader
Cross-polarized microscopy
8th Place
Dr. Igor Robert Siwanowicz
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Appendages of a common brine shrimp
9th Place
Ms. Meritxell Vendrell
Servei de Microscòpia, Universitat Autònoma
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) ovary fixed and stained to show lectins (red) and nuclei (blue)
Confocal laser scanning microscopy
10th Place
Dr. Paul Joseph Rigby
CMCA, The University of Western Australia
Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
Daisy petal with fungal infection and pollen grains, whole mount, unstained
Confocal autofluorescence
11th Place
Mr. Stefano Barone
Cremona, Italy
House cricket's tongue (Acheta domesticus)
Rheinberg illumination (Dark field with interference filter)
12th Place
Mr. Douglas Moore
University Relations and Communications, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA
Montana Dryhead agate, unpolished
Fiber Optic Illumination
13th Place
Mr. Charles Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Conochilus unicornis (rotifer), actively feeding. This rotifer species forms a free floating spherical colony
Differential Interference Contrast
14th Place
Dr. Ali Erturk
Munich, Germany
Mouse brain vasculature
Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy
15th Place
Mr. Charles Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Chrysochroa buqueti (jewel beetle) carapace, near eye
Diffused, Reflected Illumination
16th Place
Dr. Nils Lindstrom
Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Three transgenic kidneys cultured together, showing colliding branching collecting duct systems
17th Place
Mr. Rogelio Moreno
Panama, Panama
Pleurotaenium ovatum (microalgae)
Polarized Light, Lambda Plate
18th Place
Mr. Jens H. Petersen
Ebeltoft, Denmark
Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel)
19th Place
Dr. Sabrina Kaul
University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria
Larval stage of the acorn worm Balanoglossus misakiensis, dorsal view, showing cell borders, muscles and apical eye spots
20th Place
Dr. Dylan T. Burnette
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
A crawling bone cancer (osteosarcoma) cell showing actin filament bundles in the lamella
Structured Illumination Microscopy
Mr. Honorio Cócera-La Parra
University of Valencia
Valencia, Spain
Conichalcite pseudomorph after azurite
Transmitted Light
Dr. Marco Dal Maschio
Max Planck Institute Neurobiology
Munich, Germany
Sagittal brain slice showing cell nuclei (cyan) and Purkinije cells (red) expressing EGFP
Mr. Evan Darling
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York, USA
Rat embryo fluorescently labeled with Rhodamine
Mr. Geir Drange
Asker, Norway
Leptothorax acervorum (ant) carrying its larva
Reflected Light, Focus Stacking
Mr. Frank Fox
Konz, Germany
Living Micrasterias in contrast Interphako
Noah Fram-Schwartz
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
Ant Eye
Reflected Light
Dr. Martin Fritsch
Department of Integrative Zoology, University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria
Lynceus brachyurus (clam shrimp), whole mount larva
Dr. William James Hatton
University of New South Wales, School of Medicine
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Mouse cardiac ventricular myocytes (isolated heart muscle cells)
Ms. Hsiao-Ling Lu
University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida, USA
Pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) stage 17 embryo showing actin filaments (red), tubulin (green), nucleus (blue), and germ cells (white)
Mr. Fabrice Parais
DREAL de Basse-Normandie
Caen, France
Air pearl in the middle of larva Stratiomyidae respiratory fringe (Diptera aquatic larva).
Mrs. Magdalena Turzanska
Institute of Experimental Biology, University of Wroclaw
Wroclaw, Poland
Nowellia curvifolia (leafy liverwort) gametophyte, berberine stained
Epi-autofluorescence with Z-stack Reconstruction

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: Trisha Bruynell Peppercomm 212-931-6129

Source: Nikon Instruments