The fourth annual Robert Savage Image Award submissions for 2012

Below are the submissions for The Swarthmore College Biology Department’s fourth annual Robert Savage Image Award. This year we received 18 entries (16 images and 2 videos). These images offer a range of subjects from microscopic images to the operating room.

Please click on a thumbnail to see a larger version of each photo or video, and check back here after the department picnic on May 2nd to find out the winners!

Confocal microscope image of stained cells in a Hirudo medicinalis ganglion. SCPb-like immunoreactive cells are stained in green, and FRMFamide-like immunoreactive cells are stained in red. Yellow indicates double staining.

Optic lobe of the developing Drosophila brain.  Molecular markers Dpn and PH3 show developing neurons (green) and dividing cells (red), respectively.  Yellow cells are cells expressing both Dpn and PH3; these are dividing neurons.

A pensive bird perched carefully on a fallen tree branch is shrouded in shadow as glimpses of light peek through the uneven canopy.  This photograph was taken at Lake Eacham in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland Australia.

This photograph shows patterns in photosynthetic organisms influenced by agriculture around False Bay on San Juan Island, WA. A recently harvested field contrasts with vegetation surrounding a creek that enters the bay. The creek carries runoff from the surrounding fields, contributing to algal growth that appears to color the shallow water.

Lemon-sized, painless, calcified angioleiomyoma benign tumor located on a patient’s ankle for 15 years before removal. There was no recurrence at 6 month follow up. (The surgery was conducted by the father of the entrant)

Photo of a cichlid fish scale visualized with phase contrast microscopy.

Food groove of a mussel gill (Geukensia demissa) viewed under a scanning electron microscope.

This image of a small globe thistle, genus Echinops, was taken on the island of Kos, Greece, where it grew in the shade of the marina’s seawall. The thistles around it were in various stages of bloom, from perfect spheres of purple flowers  to orbs of spikes. Given the prickly yet aquatic beauty of the small globe thistle, it is appropriate that the Ancient Greek word ekhinos, the root of the genus’ name, means sea urchin.


This video depicts an Aiptasia pallida sea anemone with photosynthetic Symbiodinium bending toward a light source on the left. Half way through the video the light source is gradually turned off and the A. pallida returns to its original state. Music credit: Watermark by Enya.

This picture is of the trees behind Mertz in bloom a few weeks ago.

A surprising phenotype I observed in my mutant bob1-3; bom Arabidopsis plants. Instead of forming floral organs, this plant formed the beautiful nub seen in the lower-left section of the image. The plant attempted to form floral organs (seen in the lower-middle section of the image), but ultimately failed. This image was taken looking down on the plant from above using the Biology Department’s Z16 microscope suite.

This is an image of human sperm stained with Janus Green B, visualized with 1000X magnification in phase contrast.

Image of the tip of a spine from a Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida.  Normally covered in a papery sheath, the barbed spine is sticking out.

The beautiful neuroarchitecture of a ganglion of the leech, Hirudo medicinalis, was vizualized using immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy. Red labeled and green labeled neuronal structures represent FMFRamide-like and SCPb-like immunoreactivity, respectively; yellow and orange labeled strucutres represent colocalization of the two.

This is a phase contrast image of a nematode taken from a compost pile sample.  I like the image because it shows a really clean view of nematode anatomy with the esophagus and esophageal bulb clearly visible.  In the process of examining this the nematode stopped moving and bacteria can be seen accumulating near one particular part of the nematode, toward the center of the image, but I don’t really know what interaction was taking place there.

Close up of one of many lysozyme-chloride-salt crystals found in a single lysozyme drop. Crystals were synthesized using the hanging drop/ vapor diffusion method and photgraphed in the Biochemistry Lab of Swarthmore College using a digital QX5 microscope.

Image of the cotyledon of a 7-day-old Arabidopsis seedling containing a GFP fusion to an unknown protein involved in stomate cell identity. Fluorescence microscopy was used to capture an image of reflected red light (from chloroplasts) and green light (from GFP fluorescence). Of particular interest are the stomates apparently floating outside the leaf – in fact, these stomates are situated on the ends of leaf epidermal cells that don’t contain chloroplasts and thus are not visible.


A leucistic American Robin (Turdus migratorius) that has frequented the lawn in front of Martin Hall. The bird just captured and eaten an earthworm, and has settled down for a minute of rest. It very inquisitvely looked around at me and others’ walking around nearby, before taking flight. The bird’s personality seems a bit bolder than the other robins- perhaps there is some level of connection between this and its leucistic condition?

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