Images 1 and 2: Living pluteus larva of the sea biscuit Clypeaster subdepressus under polarized light microscopy. Only the skeleton remains visible. Photos by Bruno C. Vellutini (Wikimedia; Flickr); cc-by-sa

Image 3: Pluteus larva via ccNeLaS

Image 4: Developing pluteus larva. Via Wikimedia. Public domain

Image 5: Sea urchin development tattoo via The Loom

Caption: “Greetings! Here’s a pic of my science tat. I studied sea urchin development for my dissertation. Upon completion 2 yrs ago, I awarded myself this tat for my academic achievement. The tat is of a sea urchin egg, 2 cell embryo, blastula, gastrula, prism stage and pluteus larval stage. Or as my friend’s say, an orange developing into an Alien face-grabber.”

Actinotroch of Phoronis vancouverensis

From Invertebrate Embryology blog

Caption: “These pictures are stacks of confocal images of two different actinotroch larvae of the horseshoe worm Phoronis vancouverensis (Phylum Phoronida). P. vancouverensis is a rather inconspicuous phoronid which lives in small (a few centimeters long) muddy tubes in clumps, attached to some sort of hard substratum (a rock, a floating dock) often in somewhat muddy surroundings. This species broods its larvae in the crown of tentacles, called the lophophore. I gently shook the larvae out of the lophophore of an adult and prepared them for confocal microscopy with my students while teaching the Comparative Embryology course at the Friday Harbor Labs in the Summer 2007.

We preserved the larvae and stained them with fluorescent phallodin (a toxin, derived from the deathcap mushroom Amanita phalloides), which binds to filamentous actin. Muscles are highlighted because they are full of actin, a protein which enables cellular contractility. So, most of what you see on these pictures are muscle fibers. There is also quite a bit of actin in the cell cortex (the region of the cytoplasm adjacent to the plasma membrane). So, the outlines of epidermal cells are often also labeled with phalloidin.”

This is a Bryozoan statoblast. It is a cyst that can survive over the winter and begin a new Bryozoan colony when conditions permit. The little anchor shaped hooks really cling to things and allow the statoblast to hitch a ride on vegatation or animals. ” Photos by Charles Krebs

Terrifying (but tiny!) bryozoans

Images 1 and 2: Beania mirabilis (source) cc-by-nc-sa

Image 3: Electra monostachys (source) cc-by-nc-sa

Image 1: “Scanning electron microscope image of a bryozoan colony” (Source)

Image 2: “This skeleton of a living bryozoan, collected at Bahia de los Angeles, Baja California, clearly shows this typical colonial organiation.

Each individual, or zooid, is enclosed in a sheath of tissue, the zooecium, that in many species secretes a rigid skeleton of calcium carbonate. Each zooid in this electron micrograph is less than a millimeter long and has a single opening, the orifice. Through this opening, the lophophore, a ring of ciliated tentacles centered on the mouth, protrudes to capture small food particles. The lophophore can be retracted very rapidly by specialized retractor muscles, and the opening closed by a doorlike operculum, visible on some of the zooids in the picture at the left.”


Image 3: Membraniporella nitida (source) cc-by-nc-sa

More info:

I don’t know what to call this pattern, but I like it!

Image 1: “The Maze” by Debralee Wiseberg (link and another gallery)… I think it’s corroded metal?

Image 2: 2,2-(Bipyridine)(Naphthalene)-fusion melt (25x)

Herb Comess. Honorable Mention, 1994 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition (link)

Monocot root cross-section

The vast majority of these illustration plates are from a plant systematics wall chart series – the Dodel-Port Atlas – released between 1878 & 1883”


Eye organ of a Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) third-instar larvae pictured in the confocal technique at 60 times magnification.

Credit: Dr. Michael John Bridge | University of Utah HSC Core Research Facilities – Cell Imaging Lab

7th place, Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, 2012

Haha! It’s an eye-heart! Get it?

I <3…

Cork cross-section

The vast majority of these illustration plates are from a plant systematics wall chart series – the Dodel-Port Atlas – released between 1878 & 1883”


(hope none of y’all have that fear-of-many-tiny-holes thing, ‘cause this is awesome)

Waltzing Volvox, from the Goldstein Lab at the University of Cambridge

Volvox is a colonial green algae (more info at Wikipedia)

Check out more movies on their YouTube channel and lab website

(And someone else has uploaded a more colorful video of dancing volvox here:

Volvox, a colonial green algae (more info at Wikipedia)

From the Goldstein Lab, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge:

They do really, really cool research, as described by this awesome statement: 

When asked whether I am a theorist or an experimentalist, my reply is that I am a scientist. Our group seeks to understand fundamental principles that govern the behavior of nonequilibrium systems in physics and biology, using a combination of experiment and theory. This research is not easily described by a single, conventional academic label; rather, it involves the domains of condensed matter physics, physical chemistry, biological physics, fluid dynamics, applied mathematics, and geophysics.  I subscribe to Poincaré’s motivation: 

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful;

he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because
it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.

I also believe that some of the best science is close to art, and that Glenn Gould captured this spirit when he said 

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual,
 lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.”

UMMM and they have a YouTube channel!

Volvox, a colonial green algae

From Wikipedia

“Volvox is the most developed in a series of genera that form spherical colonies.[1] Each mature Volvox colony is composed of numerous flagellate cells similar to Chlamydomonas, up to 50,000 in total,[2] and embedded in the surface of a hollow sphere or coenobium containing an extracellular matrix[2] made of a gelatinous glycoprotein.[3] The cells swim in a coordinated fashion, with distinct anterior and posterior poles. The cells have eyespots, more developed near the anterior, which enable the colony to swim towards light. The individual algae in some species are interconnected by thin strands of cytoplasm, called protoplasmates.[4] They are known to demonstrate some individuality and working for the good of their colony, acting like one multicellular organism.”

Image 1Volvox aureus, by Dennis Kunkel (2002):

Image 2: From Wikipedia, by Frank Fox (; cc-by-sa

Image 3: From Wikipedia, cc-by-sa

Image 4: Life cycle of Volvox carteri:

Nanoscale Saffman-Taylor instabilities

Photo 1: Pola Goldberg-Oppenheimer, University of Cambridge, Dept. of Engineering (source)

Another great photo here, but it’s a bit too wide to publish: Pola Goldberg-Oppenheimer, University of Cambridge, Dept. of Engineering (source, with more info on research)

Visualizing bond-length differences in a single molecule (hexabenzocoronene) using atomic force microscopy
Image from:

Source article:
Gross et al. 2012. “Bond-Order Discrimination by Atomic Force Microscopy.” Science. Vol. 337 no. 6100 pp. 1326-1329. DOI: 10.1126/science.1225621

Mitosis II in Drosophila melanogaster embryo

Fluorescent microscopy image of a Drosophila melanogaster embryo, 160x magnification. Green is DNA in mitosis, red is a nuclear protein.”

“This fruitfly embryo is expressing a green fluorescent protein attached to a histone (one of the proteins DNA wraps around). The red staining is done by using an antibody staining. This image was taken with a wide field fluorescent microscope.”