Christine E. Farrar, Zac H. Forsman, Ruth D. Gates, Jo-Ann C. Leong and Robert J. Toonen of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology were awarded Honorable Mention for their video submission, Observing the Coral Symbiome Using Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy in the 10th annual International Science and Technology Visualization Challenge.

The National Science Foundation and the journal Science invited researchers, illustrators, photographers, computer programmers, videographers and graphics specialists from around the world to submit creative illustrations, information graphics, interactive visualizations and videos that intrigue, explain and educate others about science.

The HIMB confocal video captures the complexity and glory of corals by documenting patterns in fluorescent molecules innate to the corals, and to the algae (red in color) that live inside and nourish them. No dyes were used in the study.

“When I saw the images of living corals under the microscope for the first time, my jaw just dropped,” said Ruth Gates, a coral biologist at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology and narrator of the video. “Most people think corals are inanimate rocks. We showcase how beautiful and dynamic they are as animals.”

This competition received more than 200 entries from 18 countries. The February 1, 2013 issue of Science featured the winning submissions.

“This year’s winning entries are a spectacular collection. Each one exposes a hidden facet of the natural world, or puts scientific concepts in a new light. And they use cutting-edge techniques to draw the viewer in,” said Colin Norman, Science magazine’s news editor.

Other winning entries feature owls that can perform 270-degree neck rotations, biomineral crystals found in a sea urchin’s tooth, a realistic video simulation of a human heart, a flash game about Special Relativity and other compelling visualizations.

—Adapted from a UH Mānoa news release

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *