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Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole
2008 Photomicrography Contest

First Prize: An Efflorescence of Squid

Larval squid (Loligo pealei) stained with a fluorescent label for mitochondria.


Honorable Mention: Conklin Veligers

While teaching in the MBL History of Embryology course (5/08) I was allowed to handle a box of original microscope slides made by E. G. Conklin in the early 1900’s.  I took some of the slides out and looked at them under a microscope.  These were fixed, stained veliger larvae of the slipper shell, Crepidula plana.  I was able to show the students these “old” embryos, and then we collected ripe slipper shells, and released larvae of approximately the same stages as those viewed by Conklin.

In this composite montage, the purple embryo is an original Conklin specimen, next to an image of the original slide label in Conklin's handwriting. I also took a photo of Conklin’s typed name from a note he wrote about 1910.  The blue panel is of a living veliger larva.

(I chose the 3x10 format for the montage to simulate the look of a glass microscope slide.)

Nikon 2008 Small World Photomicrography Competition

Honorable Mention: Silver Eggs

These are newly fertilized eggs of the killifish Fundulus heteroclitus.

A ripe female killifish can lay hundreds of eggs, and each egg is surrounded by a sticky chorion (a kind of eggshell).  When collected in a bowl of seawater, these often pack tightly together, forming regularly arrayed mats of embryos.  (I did not “arrange” the embryos in this pattern).  The silvery drops inside each egg are lipid vesicles.


Image of Distinction: The Three Tenors

These squid embryos are about 5 days old, and have been stained with a fluorescent marker for mitochondria.  Because all cells have mitochondria, this becomes a general fluorescent stain for the embryo.  The embryos are oriented so that we are looking at the ventral side, and each one still has a large rounded yolk sac at the bottom.  The organ primordia give these embryos the appearances of stuffed animals or cartoon characters.  If we start at the top of each embryo, the “hat” will roll down to enclose most of the larva in a mantle (what most people eat as calamari rings); the “eyes” will grow out to become the gills; the “smile” folds will form the siphon (used for jet propulsion), the stubby “arms” are the huge eye primordia; the nubby “legs” atop the yolk sac are the budding tentacles.



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Copyright © 2008 Mount Holyoke College. This document has been improperly attributed. Last modified on November 6, 2008.