2010 Hilda Canter-Lund Photography Award

Many congatulations to Dr Erasmo Macaya whose very fine image of Macrocystis pyrifera from New Zealand is the 2010 winner.

Touching the Surface

The image shows the apical tip of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, the largest seaweed on earth reaching up to 40-50 meters long. This alga forms kelp forests which are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, providing food, habitat and refuge for a wide range of marine organisms. In this image we can appreciate the beautiful gas-filled bladders called ‘pneumatocysts’. These structures provide buoyancy and let the fronds float close to the surface to receive more sunlight for photosynthesis.

The image was taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-P150 digital camera enclosed in a Sony MPK-PHB marine pack, in Scorching Bay, Wellington, New Zealand.

Erasmo Macaya

Dr. Erasmo Macaya (above) received a primary degree in Marine Biology and a Masters in Marine Sciences from Universidad Catolica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile. He obtained a PhD in Marine Biology from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand studying the dispersal patterns, connectivity, taxonomy and genetic diversity of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. Since 2010, he is Assistant Professor at Concepción University, Chile. He is also Director of the Chilean Phycological Society. He is a young phycologist carrying out research in different areas such as: inducible defenses of macroalgae, importance of floating algae on dispersal patterns, DNA barcoding and Phylogeography among others.

Departamento de Oceanografía - Cabina 10
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas
Universidad de Concepción
Casilla 160 - C
Concepción, Chile

On his web site you can find more information: www.algalecology.com <http://www.algalecology.com> . His email: emacaya@oceanografia.udec.cl


Other shortlisted images

Many thanks to all the entrants and particular thanks to the shortlisted photographers.

Coleochaete scutata

Whilst Coleochaete scutata is a common epiphyte on aquatic plants it does not usually look as vibrant as this. This sample has floated off cleanly and remained flat, with exceptional detail preserved in the cell walls and cytoplasm. Here, in a transmitted light photomicrograph it could be mistaken for part of a stained-glass window were it not for the tell-tale scale-bar. The circular structures in the cells are mostly pyrenoids, but some may be the bases of bristles that have fallen off or are out of focus. It was collected from one of the ponds on Yardley Chase in Northamptonshire (UK), which also contain several stoneworts.
Christopher F. Carter
6 Church View, Wootton, Northampton, NN4 7LJ

Micrasterias radiata prox.

A single cell from the genus Micrasterias isolated from a sphagnum sample collected on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  This specimen appears to be a potential variant of the rarely observed M. radiata, however, a more thorough literature search needs to be conducted to confirm.  The image was captured with a 20x objective using differential interference contrast (DIC) on a Zeiss Axiovert 200M in my home laboratory.
Chris Rieken

Chaetoceros chaos

This is a micrograph of Chaetoceros cells from a diatom bloom that was observed at the Marine Scotland - Science monitoring site at Loch Ewe on the west coast of Scotland. The micrograph was taken at x1950 magnification while the sample was examined using a Phillips CM10 transmission electron microscope.
Eileen Bresnan
Marine Scotland –Science, Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen, AB11 9DB

Hidden Universe - Langdale Tarn algae

Colonies of  Staurastrum arcticum, Kirchneriella and Akistrodesmus and a filamentous green algae  (Microthamnion?) from a living plankton sample collected in Langdale Tarn, Cumbria * . The photograph is of a merged Z-series projection of  a sample taken using a Leica TCS SP2 confocal microscope. The red channel shows the cell chloroplasts and  the  green channel internal cytoplasmic details and in case of the desmid, the cell wall, revealed using the green fluorescent vital stain DIOC(6). The latter is a general lipophilic dye - which is often used to visualize internal endoplasmic reticulum. However, somewhat suprisingly in desmids this dye also reacts strongly with the mature cell wall, revealing its distinctive punctate  texture.
Gordon Beakes

Phycological Art or Artefact?

It is a problem that many phycologists will have experienced - one gets carried away exploring every part and corner of a live microscope sample of an interesting microalga, gradually losing all sense of time, until the specimen starts to dry up. Many species will not tolerate this maltreatment, but cells of aeroterrestrial algae like this Klebsormidium nitens (Streptophyta), isolated from soil, are relatively robust, and can
withstand a degree of desiccation. This specimen had lost most water after the investigator had returned from a coffee break, but strands of water
continued to link individual cells, resulting in various visually interesting structures. The image was captured on a Zeiss AxioSkop/AxioVision microscope workstation fitted with an AxioCam camera and a brightfield 40x oil PlanApo objective, and was processed with Macnification and iPhoto.

Dr Hans Sluiman
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Edinburgh EH3 5LR