The many-times-magnified photos of the Nikon Small World photomicrography contest entrance us year after year, with mesmerizing close-ups of nature’s microscopic marvels. Now, in the first Small World in Motion movie competition, we get to see the world’s wee wonders in action. The three winning films and eleven honorable mentions chronicle circulating blood, budding yeast, gestating eggs, and more.
First Place: This time-lapse video, at 10x magnification, traces the path of ink injected into an artery of a three-day-old chick embryo. As the ink spreads through the chick’s vascular system, the branching blood vessels and beating heart become clearly visible.
Second Place: Mitochondria (in blue), the power plants of animal cells, move through the nerve cells (in green) of a transgenic zebrafish. This film, at 40x magnification, is the first time mitochondria have been watched shuttling through nerve cells in a living vertebrate, says its creator Dominik Paquet.
Third Place: A daphnia, a type of small crustacean, turns its compound eye towards a tiny sphere of Volvox algae, at 50x magnification. The scientist who made the video found these organisms in water from his garden pond.
Honorable Mention: An ant colony devours a drop of grenadine in this time-lapse video.
Watch the rest of the runners up and learn more about how the videos were made here.