Microscopic Honey Bee Eye Wins 2015 Nikon Small World Top Prize

MELVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nikon Instruments Inc. today brings the world eye-to-eye with a honey bee, awarding first place of the annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition to Australian Ralph Grimm for his incredible close-up image of a bee eye covered in dandelion pollen grains. Grimm’s winning image is not only visually striking, but brings to light just how little is understood about how these incredible insects see the world.

In addition to Grimm, Nikon recognized over 77 other winners of the 2015 Small World competition, including a ranked Top Twenty, 12 Honorable Mentions and 56 Images of Distinction. With submissions spanning 83 countries, competition was tough. Judges selected winners that displayed not only artistic quality but exceptional scientific technique.

“Each year we are blown away by the incredible quality and quantity of microscopic images submitted from all over the world, from scientists, artists, and photomicrographers of all levels and backgrounds. This year was certainly no exception,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. “Judges had their work cut out for them in narrowing down from such a rich pool of applicants, and we are so pleased with the results. Each of these winning images exhibits the exemplary technique, scientific discipline and artistry for which Nikon Small World is known.”

Judges were particularly impressed by the masterful technique Grimm employed to capture this image stack, which included over four hours of careful work to mount the eye, set the focus increments, properly illuminate the subject and avoid peripheral smudging during the stacking process. The resulting image is a testament to Grimm’s painstaking efforts.

The story behind the image is also touching. As a high school teacher, self-taught photomicrographer and former beekeeper, the subject matter is near and dear to Grimm’s heart. While bee colonies continue to dwindle worldwide, Grimm hopes his image can serve as a voice for this rapidly disappearing insect that plays such a critical function in pollinating the world’s crops.

“In a way I feel as though this gives us a glimpse of the world through the eye of a bee,” says Grimm. “It’s a subject of great sculptural beauty, but also a warning- that we should stay connected to our planet, listen to the little creatures like bees, and find a way to protect the earth that we all call home.”

Ralph Grimm now joins the ranks of 37 other photomicrographers, artists and scientists from all over the world who have taken the top prize. This year’s competition received over 2,000 entries from more than 83 countries around the world.

Top Five Images:

  1. Ralph Claus Grimm, Eye of a honey bee (Apis mellifera) covered in dandelion pollen
  2. Kristen Earle, Gabriel Billings, KC Huang & Justin Sonnenburg, Mouse colon colonized with human microbiota
  3. Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, Intake of a humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), a freshwater carnivorous plant
  4. Daniel H. Miller & Ethan S. Sokol, Lab-grown human mammary gland organoid
  5. Dr. Giorgio Seano & Dr. Rakesh K. Jain, Live imaging of perfused vasculature in a mouse brain with glioblastoma

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. The 2015 panel includes:

  • Jacqueline Howard, Science Associate Editor, Huffington Post
  • Ernie Mastroianni, Photo Editor, Discover Magazine
  • Dr. Tim Mitchison, Vice-chair of the Department, and Co-chair of the Ph.D. program in Systems Biology, Harvard Faculty and Sciences in Cambridge
  • Dr. Hari Shroff, Chief and Tenure-track investigator, Section on High-Resolution Optical Imaging, at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

Top images from the 2015 Nikon Small World Competition will be exhibited in a full-color calendar and through a national museum tour. For additional information, please visit www.nikonsmallworld.com, or follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @NikonSmallWorld.

Nikon Small World In Motion
For the first time, Nikon will also unveil the winners of its sister competition, Nikon Small World in Motion, in December 2015. Celebrating and showcasing the best of science and art under the microscope in the form of video, the 2015 Small World in Motion winners will be revealed on December 2, 2015 on www.nikonsmallworld.com.

The following are the Top 20 and Honorable Mentions for Nikon Small World 2015. The full gallery of winning images, along with Images of Distinction can be viewed at www.nikonsmallworld.com.

1st Place
Ralph Claus Grimm
Jimboomba, Queensland, Australia
Eye of a honey bee (Apis mellifera) covered in dandelion pollen (120x)
Reflected Light

2nd Place
Kristen Earle, Gabriel Billings, KC Huang & Justin Sonnenburg
Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Stanford, California, USA
Mouse colon colonized with human microbiota (63x)

3rd Place
Dr. Igor Siwanowicz
Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Janelia Farm Research Campus, Leonardo Lab
Intake of a humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba), a freshwater carnivorous plant (100x)

4th Place
Daniel H. Miller & Ethan S. Sokol
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biology
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Lab-grown human mammary gland organoid (100x)

5th Place
Dr. Giorgio Seano & Dr. Rakesh K. Jain
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Live imaging of perfused vasculature in a mouse brain with glioblastoma
Optical Frequency Domain Imaging System

6th Place
Henri Koskinen
Helsinki, Finland
Spore capsule of a moss (Bryum sp.)
Reflected Light

7th Place
Evan Darling
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York, USA
Starfish imaged using confocal microscopy (10x)

8th Place
Dr. Tomoko Yamazaki
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Nerves and blood vessels in a mouse ear skin (10x)

9th Place
Dr. Nathanael Prunet
California Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College, Department of Biology
Pasadena, California, USA
Young buds of Arabidopsis (a flowering plant) (40x)

10th Place
Ian Gardiner
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Clam shrimp (Cyzicus mexicanus), live specimen (25x)
Darkfield, Focus Stacking

11th Place
Rogelio Moreno Gill
Panama, Panama
Fern sorus at varying levels of maturity (20x)
Fluorescence, Image Stacking

12th Place
Hannah Sheppard-Brennand
Southern Cross University, National Marine Science Centre
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Developing sea mullet (Mugil cephalus) embryos (40x)

13th Place
Jose Almodovar
University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayaguez Campus, Biology Department
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, USA
Tentacles of a carnivorous plant (Drosera sp.) (20x)
Image Stacking

14th Place
Viktor Sykora
Charles University, First Faculty of Medicine
Prague, Czech Republic
Australian grass (Austrostipa nodosa) seed (5x)

15th Place
Dr. Heiti Paves
Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Gene Technology
Tallinn, Estonia
Anther of a flowering plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) (20x)

16th Place
Charles B. Krebs
Charles Krebs Photography
Issaquah, Washington, USA
Feeding rotifers (Floscularia ringens) (50x)

17th Place
Dr. David Maitland
Feltwell, United Kingdom
Black witch-hazel (Trichodactylus crinitus) leaf producing crystals to defend against herbivores (100x)
Differential Interference Contrast

18th Place
Roland Gross
Gruenen, Bern, Switzerland
Hairyback worm (Chaetonotus sp.) and algae (Micrasterias sp.) (400x)
Differential Interference Contrast

19th Place
Dr. Richard R. Kirby
Marine Biological Association
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Planktonic larva of a horseshoe worm (phoronid) (450x)

20th Place
Frank Reiser
Nassau Community College, Department of Biology
Garden City, New York, USA
Suction cups on the diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.) foreleg (50x)
Image Stacking, Photomerge


Jace Artichoker
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
Rochester, New York, USA
Mouse embryo, 10.5 days old (11x)

Norm Barker
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Red fossil coral slab (20x)
Reflected Light

Dr. Michael J. Boyle
Smithsonian Marine Station, Life Histories Department
Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
Peanut worm (Sipuncula) trochophore larva, 3 days old (yellow: cilia; cyan: DNA; red: serotonin in the nervous system) (40x)

Michael Crutchley
Pembrokeshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Adult marine worm (Autolytus) (30x)

Dr. Reto Paul Fiolka
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology
Dallas, Texas, USA
Mitochondria in a live HeLa cancer cell (63x)
3D Structured Illumination Microscopy

Cynthia Levinthal
Q Therapeutics, Clinical/Research Department
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Human neural stem cells (200x)

Dr. Daniela Malide
National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Light Microscopy Core Facility
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
3D reconstruction of mouse brown adipose (fat) tissue (40x)
Third Harmonic Generation Microscopy

Rogelio Moreno Gill
Panama, Panama
Mites on insect pupa (20x)
Darkfield, Image Stacking

Dr. Helen Rankin
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA
Transgenic Xenopus laevis (African clawed toad) tadpole head expressing green neurons (10x)

Dr. Robert B. Simmons
Briarwillow LLC
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Foraminifera (a deep sea microscopic organism) isolated from a deep sea dredge in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean (4x)

Dr. Luca Toledano
Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona
Verona, Italy
Detail of jewel beetle (Coleoptera Buprestidae) (32x)
Macroscopy, Image Stacking

Susan Tremblay
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, USA
Liverwort (Lepidolaena taylorii) plant showing modified leaves (water sacs), which are often home to aquatic microorganisms such as rotifers (100x)

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 www.nikonsmallworld.com. 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 2016 Small World Competition may also be downloaded from www.nikonsmallworld.com.

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 97th 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 www.nikoninstruments.com. Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

Media Contact: Trisha Bruynell Peppercomm 212-931-6129 tbruynell@peppercomm.com

Source: Nikon Instruments