Freshwater Rotifers Video Wins 2012 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition
18 Dec 2012

The judges dove Down Under to select an Australian video of freshwater rotifers as First Prize winner in the 2012 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, the world’s foremost forum for showcasing microscope photos and movies of life science subjects. Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Jimboomba, Australia, captured the fascinating 58-second video showing the super-fast movements of tiny animals whose hair-like cilia beat constantly to sweep food into their mouths.

The movie depicts colonies of rotifers found on a lily leaf in Grimm’s own pond, their spot-like red eyes and internal organs captured through the use of differential interference contrast illumination. The first video ever to capture First Prize in the competition, it was selected from more than 2000 entries and earned Mr. Grimm $5,000 worth of Olympus equipment.

Now in its ninth year, the Olympus BioScapes Competition is a premier platform for honoring images and movies of human, plant and animal subjects as captured through light microscopes. Images of any life science subject are eligible. Entries are judged based on the science they depict, their aesthetics (beauty or impact of the image), and their technical expertise. Competitors can use any brand of microscope. This year, in addition to 10 top award-winning recipients, Honorable Mentions went to 62 images and movies. Altogether, there were nine videos among the entries receiving recognition.

The 2012 winning images and movies reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology as documented by researchers, along with amazing glimpses of life on a microscopic scale captured by hobbyists, students and other photographers. Specimens represent animal, plant and human subjects. For example, Second Prize went to a beautiful image of branching red algae captured by Arlene Wechezak of Anacortes, Wash.

The honored images and movies come from 15 states of the U.S., along with 19 other nations including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Competition participants hail from a record 70 nations making this year’s competition the most international to date.

The Olympus BioScapes Competition will celebrate its landmark 10th Anniversary in 2013 and that competition, which closes September 30, 2013, is already open for participants. Entrants can submit up to five still images, image sequences, or movies of life science subjects captured at any magnification using a compound light microscope. The judges make their decisions without participant or brand information.

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