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Daddy Longlegs Photo Wins Digital Imaging Competition

November 19, 2010

A close-up image of the eyes of a Daddy Longlegs has beaten out nearly 2,000 other life science-related microscope photos and movies to win the 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, officials announced on Wednesday.

The picture, which was taken by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany, “showcases the bug-eyed splendor” of the Phalangium opilio, an arachnid species also known as a Harvestman, contest representatives said in a statement.

“The photo reveals not only the eyes’ lenses (two large ovals), but also the retinas and optic nerves (trailing down at center back) of the artistic arachnid,” they added. “This stunning depiction, a depth color-coded projection of a confocal microscope image, was selected from about 2000 images and movies to earn First Prize–$5,000 worth of Olympus equipment.”

Second Prize was awarded to Thomas Deerinck of the University of California, San Diego’s National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research which is image of a rat hippocampus, and Third Prize went to James Nicholson of the Coral Culture & Collaborative Research Facility, NOAA NOS NCCOS Center for Coastal Environmental Health & Biomolecular Research at the Fort Johnson Marine Lab in Charleston, South Carolina, for his close-up of a solitary orange coral.

Wolfgang Bettighofer of Kiel, Germany, brought home Fourth Prize for his image of living Licmophora juegensii on red alga, while M. Reza Dadpour of Tabriz, Iran captured Fifth Prize for his photograph of a flower bud during the final stages of its development.

Finishing in sixth place was Jerzy Gubernator of Wroclaw, Poland, for his image of Spirogyra, with Siwanowicz also claiming seventh place with a photo of the eye of a blue damselfly.

Rounding out the top ten were Jan Michels of Kiel, Germany, for his depiction of a beetle leg; Yanping Wang, Beijing, China for a photo of colorful wildflower seeds; and Tonbridge, Kent native Laurie Knight for an image of a weevil captured using episcopic illumination.

Contest officials also announced that a traveling exhibit, feature the First through Tenth Place finishers and 10 Honorable Mention photographs, will be displayed at the San Diego Natural History Museum from December 2010 through February 2011. Afterwards, the images will go on tour, with stops at venues in New York City; Washington D.C.; Providence, Rhode Island; and Baltimore, Maryland.

According to the event’s official website, “The Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition recognizes outstanding images of life science specimens captured through light microscopes, using any magnification, any illumination technique and any brand of equipment. Each person entering can submit up to five movies, images, or image sequences (such as time lapse series). Entries must include information on the importance or ‘story’ behind the images.”

“BioScapes images and movies hold a mirror up to the complexity, beauty and grace of the living universe,” Osamu Joji, Group Vice President and General Manager, Scientific Equipment Group, Olympus America Inc., said in a statement on Wednesday. “But even more, they tell stories about some of the most important and compelling research being done today. The BioScapes Competition”¦ allows Olympus to bring these fascinating science images and stories to the world.”

Image Caption: First place was taken by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz of the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany for his image of the frontal section of Phalangium opilio (Harvestman/Daddy longlegs) eyes.

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