Ancient Fidget Spinner - Imaging Microfossils of Radiolarian
The winning image in the category of Geosciences & Natural Resources of the 2022 ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest was submitted by Dr. Sebastien Colin of the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tuebingen, Germany. It shows a microfossil of radiolarian, acquired with a ZEISS LSM 780 confocal microscope.
Microfossils are the tiny remains of bacteria, protists, fungi, animals, and plants. These fossil remains are studied as a single discipline because rock samples must be processed in certain ways to remove them and microscopes must be used to study them. This subdivision of paleontology is very significant in geology, paleontology, and biology.
Winning Image: Microfossil of Radiolarian
Acquired with a ZEISS LSM 780 confocal microscope
Using a confocal microscope to reveal the elegant skeleton of ancient radiolarians that were drifting in the ocean tens to hundreds of thousands of years before the invention of optical sectioning fascinates me.
The diversity of modern marine unicellular eukaryotes, the dynamic of their populations and their complex interaction networks are still poorly understood – yet they are responsible for a significant part of the Earth’s biogeochemistry.
Dr. Colin's research focuses on automating workflows to isolate and image single-celled eukaryotes from aqueous ecosystems in complement to molecular biology methods. Similar approaches can be used to tackle ancient biodiversity by means of 3D imaging of microfossils from seafloor sediments, e.g. this skeleton of radiolarian.
In this specific case, the innovation was to achieve a fluorescent staining of the biomineral surface of the fossil, allowing 3D imaging of the fossils by means of laser scanning microscopy. Confocal imaging is much more versatile, and faster than X-ray nano computed tomography, which is the gold standard for morphologically-based identification of such specimens.
About the Contest
For the second year in a row, ZEISS celebrates the work of researchers using microscopy in various application fields with the ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest. ZEISS users from all around the globe submitted almost 1,000 fascinating entries. The 2022 ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest was open from April 1 to May 15.
A selection of the images will be included in the ZEISS Microscopy Calendar 2023.