We had a fantastic response to CAM's Image Competition for 2020, with many impressive submissions this year. As always, the quality and creativity increases every year and the judging panel had a difficult job of choosing only three winning entries from the images entered this year.
First prize has been awarded to "This is a mystery!", by Michael Frese from the Molecular Virology Group at the University of Canberra. Michael captured the image using the FEI Quanta QEMSCAN. This image shows an acritarch microfossil found at McGraths Flat, a recently discovered fossil Lagerstätte near Gulgong, New South Wales. In the mid-Miocene, McGraths Flat was a small oxbow lake in which organisms were rapidly encased in, and replaced by, goethite. This mode of preservation produced fossils with exquisite details, and also allows SEM imaging of uncoated samples. Arcritarchs are microfossils of uncertain origin. While many are believed to be algae or dinoflagelates, the exact taxonomic affiliation of the depicted fossil remains a mystery. Whatever it is, this specimen nicely showcases the high-fidelity preservation of fossils from McGraths Flat.
Second prize was awarded to Thanh Tran, Research School of Engineering and Computer Science, for his image, "Nano-brain". This image, taken using the ZEISS UltraPlus FESEM, shows brush-like nano-scale Co3O4 particles, which grow into highly porous structures.
Olga Zaytseva from the Quinn Group at JCSMR's Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, has won third prize for her image, "Cherry blossom", captured using the ZEISS LSM800 with Airyscan. This image shows how, in the Drosophila larval brain, neural progenitors differentiate through defined lineages (marked by magenta and cyan), giving rise to mature neurons whose axon projections (orange) innervate the body.
Thank you to everyone who submitted their fabulous images this year, and congratulations to the three winners!