Streams

And The Winner Is: The Humped Bladderwort

Monday, December 16, 2013

We get a lot of press releases about photo contests, but this winning image from the Olympus BioScapes Imaging Competition (which I didn't even know existed) stood out for a few reasons:

1. The image itself is really neat.

2. What's actually happening in the image is also neat: Apparently this is like a microscopic aquatic version of a Venus' flytrap — it sucks little microinvertebrates into its trap a millisecond after they trigger its hairs.

3. It's called a humped bladderwort, or Utricularia gibba if you wanna get technical. It's a flowering plant that grows in ponds and lakes all over the world. (Earnest bladderwort explainer video.)

4. Speaking of technical, the process is interesting. According to press-release jargon, "Igor Siwanowicz, a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus ... magnified the plant 100 times using a laser scanning confocal microscope and used cellulose-binding fluorescent dye Calcofluor White to visualize the cell walls of the plant."

Siwanowicz began photographing about 10 years ago, and has a much larger collection of similar images — which you won't regret checking out.

Science! Neat.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

Tags:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.