The 2017 Submissions

The Swarthmore College Biology Department received 29 submissions for the 9th annual Robert Savage Image Award and we are pleased to present them here.

The winners were announced at the Biology Department picnic on May 2.

(Click each image to view a larger version)


27 Robin Htun

A tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) captured mid-flight at its downstroke, carrying a sunflower seed back to a branch. This photo was taken at the birdfeeder behind Cornell Library using a Nikon camera.


26 Anna Bigney

Nematocysts and Symbiodinium that have spilled out from a cut tentacle of Aiptasia pallida. This image was taken using phase contrast microscopy at 400x magnification.


25 Maya Smith

A Fothergilla garenii, colloquially known as dwarf fothergilla, found by the athletic facilities at Swarthmore College.


24 Anna Abruzzo

I took this photo at the Bio 002 trip to Longwood Gardens.  I was struck by the contrast between the bright pink and green leaves of the plant, color that this photograph cannot authentically capture.  For this particular image, I chose to highlight the white flowers within the pink leaves, which provide an interesting and aesthetically pleasing focal point.  Also, taking this picture from below the plant enabled me to capture the translucency of the leaves, as the light shining through the upper layer of leaves reveals their veins.


23 Julian Segert

Taken at Longwood Gardens last year, using my old Pentax camera loaded with Kodak 400 film that was barely fast enough for this lighting. As far as I can identify, these are a kind of Fuchsia hybrida, and the bright red flowers are to attract hummingbirds.


22 Shanti Garcia

Picture of a beautiful, unidentified flower on the road between Mary Lyons and Swarthmore Campus. Served as a nice reminder of how the beauty of our surroundings can be revealed, if only we take the time to stop and look.


21 Sacha Lin

I pass this tree every day as I go to the practice violin in Lang. Only recently did I notice these crimped leaves, which reminded me a great deal of potato chips. Just today, when I went on a tour of the Crum with my Biology 2 class, I learned that these funny leaves belong to beech trees.


20 Krista Smith-Hanke

A photomicrograph of a single Aiptasia tentacle. The red sections of the photo are the symbiotic zooxanthellae living inside of the anemone, and the green sections are actin filaments fluorescing due to use of a phalloidin stain. There are visible muscle striations on top of and around the symbionts. This image was taken using confocal microscopy.


19 Daniel Wallick

Dicranopteris linearis in Naoshima, Japan. Dicranopteris linearis is in the Gleicheniaceae family, which is the family of forked ferns.  The fronds of these ferns grow indeterminately, yielding dense thickets.  These ferns are among the leptosporangiate ferns, but they are not in the order Polypodiales, which contains most species of ferns.  Instead, the Gleicheniaceae, along with two other small families, comprise the order Gleicheniales.


18 Susie Min


This image shows the inflammation of a murine kidney transplant from my summer research lab at Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. The peritubular and glomerular capillaries are in green by staining the complement product C4d and CD3 in red stains T cells that are seen infiltrating these tubules. 40X



Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) keeping moist among the leaf litter. I found this specimen in March 2017, while raking leaves in the Scott Arboretum. 




This photo was taken in a Crabapple tree, Malus rosaceae, outside of Wharton dorm.  The Eastern tent caterpillars shown, Malacosoma americanum, are native critters that generally do not kill trees but can defoliate and damage them.  Their tents are also not the most attractive, and after getting the go-ahead from Scott Arboretum I squished this bunch.


15 Max Gruber

A pair of orange-chinned parakeets (Brotogeris jugularis) photographed outside of Bogotá, Colombia. These social birds form strong pair bonds and are found throughout Central America as well as Venezuela and Colombia. These parakeets get their name from the patch of bright plumage just below their beaks.


14 Jordan Reyes

Photo taken under a dissection microscope in a Bio 1 Lab of a chick embryo 3 weeks after fertilization.


13 Amber Sheth

I took this image of a Japanese macaque on December 2016 at the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, Japan. The macaques, also known as snow monkeys, are the furthest north-living primates, excluding humans. They make their home high in the Japanese Alps and come to this particular site because of the naturally occurring hot springs, which cloud the area in mist. This was my first time seeing primates up close, and I was struck by how similar to us they seemed, both in appearance and habit, like the motherly attention given to grooming the baby in the foreground. The monkey looking up and behind me, the photographer, is a reminder of the presence of a group of people surrounding this group of monkeys and taking pictures. Many people come to Jogokudani every day, but I wonder: who is really doing the watching?


12 Hriju Adhikari

I took this picture during the Bio 002 trip to the Longwood Garden in April 2017. Conoca D’Or Oriental Trumpet Lily a perennial hybrid lily. I tried to focus on the anther and the stigma to show the nature of the flowering plants’ reproductive system. The anther of this lily contains the bright red pollen (which interestingly, can also be used as a dye). The pollen grains on the petals of the flower conveys the ease by which pollen can be dispersed.The stigma is sticky in order to allow pollen to attach and enter the stigma.


11 Lillian Price

This photo of blooming Geranium maderense was taken on the Biology 002 trip to Longwood Gardens. The distinct, dewy-looking “hairs” on the stem are actually called trichomes. Trichomes usually serve as protection (similarly to hair on mammals), but in 1999, G.G. Spomer published an article on the capability of enzymes in the sticky trichomes of another type of geranium to digest protein, possibly indicating carnivory.


10 Sophie Nasrallah

This is is a saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) just before release after being banded. A saw-whet owl can grow to be about 8 inches tall and weigh a little more than a robin. One mouse equates to two meals for this little fellow. The photo was taken at Rushton Woods Preserve with the Swarthmore Bird Club while watching saw-whet owls being banded in order to better understand their migration patterns through changing climates and habitat loss. 


9 Rehab Mahgoub

The name tag said Bromeliaceae but I couldn’t help thinking, “sad plant.” These plants are able to collect water in little central tanks. At least that’s what someone said as I stared deeply into the tanks and thought, “tears glistening in the sunlight, trapped in ducts waiting to explode and flood over – so relatable.”


8 Jacob Demree

Strelitzia reginae, or the bird of paradise flower, is native to southern Africa; however, the flowers have been cultivated as far as Guatemala, where this image was captured.  Within the courtyard of Antigua’s Convento Santa Clara, this flower coexists with diverse wildlife and a high rate of traffic from tourists visiting the ruins of the convent.  Often pollinated by birds, Strelitzia species exhibit various colors and forms, with S. reginae appearing much like Paradisaeidae individuals, from which they get their colloquial name “bird of paradise.”

Leica Picture

1 Karl Palmquist


Image depicts the hemichordate Saccoglossus kowalevskii, commonly known as the acorn worm. This image was taken using brightfield microscopy at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.The specimen was collected from a tidal pool near Waquoit Bay, MA.


7 Maxwell Marckel


This is an American Oil Beetle (Meloe americanus) that I found outside LPAC on campus. Oil beetles can secrete a poisonous chemical from their joints when disturbed, but this one did not, so apparently my closeness did not disturb it excessively. The flower is a crocus that grows on campus which I picked and placed by the beetle myself. 


6 Leela Breitman

Honorable Mention

This image features the distal end of the 5th pereiopod of the porcelain anemone crab Neopetrolisthes ohshimai. The 5th pereiopods are used for grooming and filter feeding behaviors and are adorned with straight serrate and sickle setae. Focus-stacking (Z-stacking) microscopy was used to capture this photograph. 


5 David Tian

The transition in color patterning during the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths is one of the great wonders of evolution and development. This is a Stinging Silkmoth caterpillar (Automeris metzli) from a coffee plantation in Boquete, Panama. These caterpillars are decorated with a spotted pattern as well as pink and green stinging spines for defense. While the caterpillar is extremely colorful, the adult surprisingly ecloses out of the cocoon as a relatively bland, light brown moth. 


4 Chloe Klaus

The Anemone Flower, also known as the wind flower, is a composite perennial that comes in a variety of colors. This particular one was photographed at Longwood Gardens on an iPhone 6.


3 Lillian Fornof


Taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo, this photograph captures Nan, an African Elephant, in her enclosure.  As these elephants become more vulnerable from poaching and habitat loss, zoos and rescue facilities become vital components in maintaining the species.


2 Raehoon Jeong

At Longwood Gardens on a summer day. The bright flowers almost seemed translucent and created a dreamy ambience.


28 Amelie Ya Deau

This is a film photograph of a barn door with several types of wild plants in front of it. This photo was taken last June in Ithaca, New York.


29 Iris Chan

Zebrafish embryos in their chorions between 24 and 36 hours post fertilization: somites along the body (black speckles), eye structures (black spots on either side), and the heart (central yellow sphere) can be seen. Zebrafish are tropical freshwater fish from the minnow family and are named for the horizontal blue stripes that will develop on their sides. The transparency of zebrafish embryos allows us to observe morphological changes that occur during development, including cell movement, organ formation, and beating hearts. It also enables the visualization of fluorescently labeled tissues in transgenic zebrafish embryos. Since many genes and critical organ pathways are highly conserved between zebrafish and humans, the genetics of many human diseases, including blood and skin cancers, can be studied using zebrafish.


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