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Footprints in Water
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"Footprints in Water"

June 22, 2010
"Footprints in Water" "Footprints in Water." This photo shows small water creatures (Daphnia lumholtzi, 1.5 millimeters in total length) that create relatively large disturbances in their surrounding water. Each animal swims somewhat differently, and, begin of different size and shape, creates species-specific disturbances similar to terrestrial animals' moving on snow. Optical techniques allow visualization of these "footprints." The creatures use these footprints to distinguish between predators, prey and mates. This Daphnia moved from the left lower edge to the center of the picture, filtered there a volume of water in search of food, and changed position to start filtering a new volume of water. This image was taken as part of research by professor J. Rudi Strickler, currently of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. To learn more about Strickler's research with these tiny water creatures, see the UWM Research Profile article, "The Mating Game". This graphic was an entry in the 2005 Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge competition, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Journal Science. The competition is held each year to recognize outstanding achievements by scientists, engineers, visualization specialists and artists who are innovators in using visual media to promote the understanding of research results and scientific phenomena. To learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries, see the Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Special Report. (Date of Image: May 15, 2005)