Nature's 'Hidden World' exposed

Editorial

Rebecca Pool

Monday, October 9, 2017 - 13:30
Image: Polarised light microscopy of sea cucumber skin.
 
 
Providing microscopic insights into frogspawn development, Amy Bateman from Cumbria has used macrophotography and lighting effects to capture the entire development from spawn to froglet in striking detail.
 
Development of the neurosystem in common frogspawn.
 
Meanwhile, Chris Carter from Cornwall reveals a line of antheridia on a male branch of  a stonewort algae, 'Chara fragifera'; each sphere has a closely-knit set of 'shield cells', outlined in black.
 
A line of antheridia on a male branch of the stonewort 'Chara fragifera', one of the algae. 
 
Captured from an antique microscope slide, a light micrograph of a section of cat skin shows a developing hair follicle (below).
 
Developing hair follicle in cat skin; the specimen dates from the ~1950s.
 
James Patterson from London, framed his follicle image with the circular field of view of the microscope ocular lens to create the illusion of a 'glowing world'.
 
Revealing the invisible
 
Steve Lowry from Londonderry used polarised light microscopy to image the skin of a sea cucumber, Synapta, showing paired spicules, referred to as 'plates and anchors'.
 
Polarised light micrograph of the skin of the sea cucumber, Synapta, (Echinodermata, Holothuroida).
 
Both the skin and 'hooks and anchors' are transparent, only becoming visible when viewed using polarised light.
 
Young photographer of the Year contender, Alannah Harding from North Shields, also captured a stunning image of the heart of a mouse embryo, perfectly formed and surrounded by other organs.
 
The heart of a mouse embryo, perfectly formed and surrounded by other organs.
 
These and more were shortlisted from over 600 entries; the winners will be revealed on 12th October, as part of Biology Week 2017.
 
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