Watch Ants Sip Grenadine, Spheres of Algae Spin, and Other Small-Scale Spectacles in These Movies

By Valerie Ross | February 7, 2012 3:20 pm

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.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Technology
  • Bill

    The ants have it.

  • Cathy

    The second place video is unviewable; it says it is private.

    I love how the ants turn bright red after they slurp away at their sugary treat for a few minutes.

  • Carolyn

    Click the “Nikon Small World” link in the first paragraph and you’ll be able to go to the site and watch the video that’s private. :) Unless of course you already did that, and then props to you! :)

  • nquiry

    Did the embryo live or die after the ink was injected into it?

  • Pat Thompson

    The second-place video can be seen more easily from the drop-down menu at YouTube.


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