Video Release — Microscopic Predator Attack Scene Wins First Place in Annual Nikon Small World in Motion Competition

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MELVILLE, N.Y., Dec. 09, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nikon Instruments Inc. today unveiled the winners of the fifth annual Nikon Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition, awarding First Place to veteran winner Wim van Egmond of the Micropolitan Museum in The Netherlands. Judges were impressed with the thrilling video van Egmond captured of a ciliate predator devouring its prey.
A video accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/74d35e5a-8860-4199-920c-fdf7f7cf649aThe microorganisms in this slow-moving attack were scooped out of a backyard pond, as van Egmond hoped to inspire his friend to take more interest in her microscope. Luckily he had his camera ready when he recognized the predator and prey so close together, capturing a real-time recording when the attack began.“Wildlife is so close to us, yet most of us never look close enough to see it,” said van Egmond. “A pool in your garden is actually a miniature underwater jungle teeming with life. If you want to see the world, your backyard is a great place to start.”Mr. van Egmond is a former first-place winner of Nikon Small World, Nikon’s long-standing sister competition awarding still photography captured under the microscope. In recent years he has put more time in moving images, thanks to advancing DSLR video capabilities that allow him to capture movement and behavior of microorganisms. “For me, microscopy is about exploring living organisms – so you should see them alive and moving,” said van Egmond.It is this continued advancement of digital technology that led to the creation of Nikon Small World in Motion five years ago, as scientists and artists were suddenly able to show another dimension to life under the microscope.“Wim exemplifies the evolution of Small World over the years, as technological advances push our ability to see and discover the world forward, and video takes center stage,” said Eric Flem, Communications Manager, Nikon Instruments. “Beyond still images, video has become a powerful tool for artists and scientists to show the life and movement they see under the microscope every day. This competition serves as a platform to share those discoveries with the world, and hopefully inspire others to pick up a microscope and take a closer look.”Second Place in the 2015 Nikon Small World in Motion competition went to Danielle Parsons of Wonder Science TV in the United States. Her video provides a glimpse into the roiling gut contents of a termite, including the organisms that help break down wood for their termite hosts. The darkfield microscopy Parsons employed affords dramatic lighting effects and a bold color palate, resulting in an almost cinematic quality of the video.  As a science communicator, Parsons was drawn to the unique and intricate collaboration of these species, which have formed their endosymbiotic partnership over evolutionary time.   Gonzalo Avila, a PhD candidate from The University of Auckland, claimed Third Place for his mesmerizing yet horrifying video of a parasitoid wasp larva breaking out of its host and spinning its cocoon. Grim as this parasitism process appears, these wasps play a critical role in controlling the population of the aptly named Gum-Leaf Skeletoniser moth – a pest causing serious damage to Eucalyptus in Australia and New Zealand. While the process of the larva slowly breaking out of its host body can take several hours, Avila’s video is played at 64x speed to show the escape in a matter of skin-crawling seconds.In addition to First, Second and Third prize winners, Nikon Small World in Motion recognized an additional 15 entries as Honorable Mentions.The 2015 judging panel includes: Dr. Tim Mitchison of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Hari Shroff of NIBIB, and Ernie Mastroianni of Discover Magazine.For additional information, please visit www.nikonsmallworld.com, or follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter @NikonSmallWorldNIKON SMALL WORLD IN MOTION WINNERS