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Bugs and Brains: Our Most Popular Microscope Images for May 2021

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Microscope art

The most popular images for this month form one of our most diverse collections yet! From bugs and brains to summertime beverages, these images show us different perspectives than we can see with the naked eye.

Dinoflagellates under the microscope

Image courtesy of Gabrielle Corradino.

Our top image for the month is a look at three dinoflagellates. Many of us have seen dinoflagellates while out for a nighttime stroll along the shore. Certain dinoflagellates are usually the organisms responsible for the bioluminescence we see at the surface of the ocean! When the dinoflagellate populations are dense, any disturbance in the water (e.g., waves crashing) can cause the bright blue bioluminescent displays that we see at night.

Learn more about Gabrielle in her recent interview.

European water clover under the microscope

Image and caption courtesy of Jan Martinek.

This curious image is a fluorescence microphotography of a cross section through the petiole of a European water clover (Marsilea quadrifolia). Marsilea can grow partially submerged in the water and, in this cross section, you can see its anatomical adaptation to this lifestyle. Under the epidermis, there’s an area reinforced with radial lamellae, with empty cavities between them. This tissue is called aerenchyma, and it serves as pipes to deliver air from the upper parts of the plant to the submerged ones. Aerenchyma tissue is common in many wetland plants and can take many different forms, but this tissue in Marsilea is one of the most aesthetic. This image was captured using focus-stacked widefield epifluorescence in blue excitation light.

Honeybee eyes under the microscope

Image courtesy of Ralph Grimm.

Did you know that honeybees have hairy eyes? Researchers believe the hair prevents pollen from sticking directly to their main eyes while they collect pollen from flowers and plants. Perhaps if humans had hairy eyes, we would suffer less during allergy season!

Aperol under the microscope

Image courtesy of Karl Gaff.

This stunning multicolor web is actually a close up look at Aperol under the microscope! Aperol is an Italian aperitif used in the popular summer cocktail Aperol Spritz!

Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain
Fluorescence imaging of a mouse brain

While each of these images looks distinct up close, they all come together to form one view of a mouse brain captured with fluorescence imaging.

British scientist Sir George G. Stokes first observed that the mineral fluorspar exhibits fluorescence when illuminated with ultraviolet light, and he coined the word ‘fluorescence’. Stokes noticed that the fluorescing light has longer wavelengths than the excitation light, a phenomenon now known as the Stokes shift. Fluorescence microscopy is an excellent method to study material that can fluoresce either in its natural form (termed primary or autofluorescence) or when treated with chemicals that can fluoresce (known as secondary fluorescence).

To learn more about fluorescence microscopy (and other techniques), visit our Microscopy Resource Center.

To see more images like these, be sure to follow us on Instagram at @olympuslifescience!

Interested in sharing your own images? Visit our image submission site.

Related Content

Connecting with Curiosity—A Conversation with Dr. Gabrielle Corradino

Scientific Works of Art: Announcing the Winners of Our 2020 Global IOTY Award

Algae to Ants: Our Most Popular Microscope Images for April 2021

Manager, Marketing Communications

Kerry Israel is the Manager of Marketing and Communications for Life Science in the Scientific Solutions Group at the Olympus Corporation of the Americas. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University, and over 15 years of experience in all aspects of marketing, from advertising and social media strategy to grassroots outreach.

Jun 10 2021
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