AMS Photomicrography Contest

The Ralph and Mildred Buchsbaum Prize for Excellence in Photomicrography

Ralph and Mildred Buchsbaum at the Bermuda Biological Station, July, 1935

(Photo courtesy V. Pearse)

Do you have a favorite photomicrograph you’d like others to see? It could be the winner!

Buchsbaum Photomicrography Contest Rules

  1. There are separate categories for color and black-and-white photomicrographs. New in 2019, we will have a third category for micro-CT images.
  2. Photomicrographs taken using transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and any kind of light microscopy, including confocal scanning laser microscopy, are eligible. Entries should be original images, created by the person submitting them (i.e., the image author).
  3. The contest is open to all SICB meeting participants; up to 3 entries each. AMS membership is welcomed but not required.
  4. Submissions must be unmounted prints, with maximum dimensions of 8 X 10 inches, unlabeled and unsigned. A single line of information identifying the subject (e.g., “Mouthparts of a mite”) and stating the microscopical technique (e.g., “SEM”) should be below the photograph.
  5. See the meeting website for details of timing of submission, voting and announcement of award winners. Entries may only be made at the meeting.
  6. The author retains all rights to the entry. The author grants permission to AMS to publish the image in Invertebrate Biology and on the AMS web site. If the image has been published previously, the author should obtain appropriate permission from the holder of the copyright.

Grayscale Division


Kevin Kocott
Department of Biological Sciences and Alabama Museum of Natural History
University of Alabama

Pruvotinidae sp. indet (Mollusca, Aplacophora, Solenogastres) with hook-shaped sclerites
From 1,056 m off southeastern Iceland

SEM images of uncoated specimen taken with Phenom Pro at 5 kV at approximately 3X coverage assembled using Microsoft Image Composite Editor.

Image width is approximately 2 mm

Color Division


James Weaver
Harvard University

Skeleton of the coral Leptoseris sp.

High Resolution SEM
Field diameter = 4 mm



Grayscale Division


Stephanie Pascual
University of Tampa
Florida, USA

Gill of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus
Dorsal aspect.

Scanning electron microscopy.
Scale bar, 500 µm.

Color Division


Thomas Sanger
Loyola University
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Developmental series of the gecko Lepidodactylus lugubris

Embryos to scale, representing ~35 days of development

Eggs courtesy of Tony Gamble
Scale bar, 2 mm



Grayscale Division


James Townsend, University of Pennsylvania

Birefringence micrograph of a living 3-day old  Mnemiopsis leidyi larva

Polarized light microscopy. Scale bar, 250 µm.

This image  shows a cross-sectional view of the gut, cilia, and statocyst, as well as cells in the developing mesoglea. This image was taken in the lab of Rudolf Oldenbourg at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, USA.I

Color Division


Eduardo E. Zatttara, Indiana University, Indiana, USA

Neuromuscular system of a nereid polychaete (Annelida)

Four-channel composite merge of three tiles; Magenta, acetylated tubulin; cyan, f-actin; blue, serotonin and gonad; yellow, DNA

Confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Length of polychaete about 1600 µm.


Grayscale Division


Tania Pineda-Enriquez, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, USA

Close -up of the arm of an undescribed species of brittle star (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea).

Scanning electron microscopy. Scale bar, 200 µm.

Color Division


Allan Carrillo-Baltodano, Clark University, Massachusetts, USA

Nervous system of the larva of Capitella teleta (Annelida). Ventral view of an eight-day-old larva visualized by confocal microscopy. Red, serotonin; grey, acetylated tubulin

Confocal microscopy. Scale bar, 50 µm.


Grayscale Division


Steven R. Hein, University of Texas at Tyler, Texas, USA

Unidentified salticid spider from San Juan Island, Washington, USA

Scanning electron microscopy. Scale bar, 1 mm.

Color Division


Ezgi Kunttas Tatli, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania, USA and B. Duygu Ozpolat, University of Maryland, Maryland, USA

Diversity in the ovaries of terrestrial arthropods

Ovaries labeled with the nucleic acid stain DAPI.  From top left to bottom right: shore fly, blow fly, wasp butterfly, earwig, milkweed bug, damselfly robber fly and black widow spider.

Confocal laser scanning microscopy.



Vladimir Gross Department of Biological Sciences University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA

Musculature of the marine heterotardigrade Batillipes mirus (Tardigrada) Filamentous actin was labeled with phalloidin and visualized by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Depth-coded projection of 150 CLSM images, each separated by 0.15 μm.

Confocal laser scanning microscopy



Sarah Atherton School of Marine Science University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA

Dorsal scales of the marine gastrotrich Xenodasys riedli (Macrodasydida)

Scanning electron microscopy. Scale bar, 10 µm.


Alexander Hackmann Department of Zoology University of Cambridge, UK

Antenna clamped in the antenna cleaning device on the foreleg of the ant Camponotus rufifemur.

Scanning electron microscopy. Scale bar, 100 µm.


Grayscale Division


Jeanette Hofstee and Rachel Collin, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama

Veliger larva of Crepidula sp. (Mollusca, Calyptraeidae).

Larvae of this undescribed species are direct-developers that retain their embryonic velum.

Scanning electron microscopy. Scale bar, 100 µm.

Color Division

Npell sz

Michael J. Boyle, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida, USA

Planktotrophic pelagosphera larva of Nephasoma pellucidum (Sipuncula, Golfingiidae)

Lateral view of a four-day-old larva. Green, F-actin; red, acetylated alpha-tubulin; blue, DNA. Z-stack of 105 slices separated by 0.5 µm.

Confocal laser scanning microscopy. Scale bar, 50 μm.


Grayscale Division


Rick Hochberg, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Julie Piraino, Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce

Embryos of an exogonine syllid (Annelida, Syllidae)

External gestation of embryos on ventral body wall. White background generated by high tilt orientation of specimen prior to scanning.

Scanning electron microscopy. Each embryo is ~160 µm in length.

Color Division


Sara Lindsay, University of Maine

Anterior end of the marine worm Neoamphitrite sp. (Annelida, Terebellidae)

Anterior segments, branchiae (red arborescent structures) and tentacles (yellow). Single frame from high definition video.

Stereomicroscopy. The entire image is ~15 mm in width.


Grayscale Division


Megan Schwartz, University of Puget Sound

A nemertean pilidium larva

Confocal projection of a phallocidin-labelled larva.

Confocal Microscopy

Color Division


Christopher Laumer, Harvard University

The freshwater turbellarian Strongylostoma sp.

Head, showing eye pigmentation, adenal rhabdites, and orange lipid bodies surrounding the gastrodermis.

Differential interference contrast optics.


Grayscale Division

Carolina Peñalva-Arana Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, US

The water flea Daphnia pulex

Male abdominal claw.

Scanning electron micrograph. Scale, 25 µm

Color Division

Sara Lindsay, Universtiy of Maine

Maldanid polychaete

Posterior segments, stained with methyl green.

Stereomicroscope. Width, ~4 mm


Grayscale Division


Abigail Reft The Ohio State University

Shell of the wood-boring bivalve, Xylophaga microchira.

Toothed ridges are made up of “teeth,” each ~10µm wide. Contraction of the posterior adductor muscle draws these diagonal ridges across the wood, shearing off wood fragments that are then ingested.

Scanning electron microscopy.

Color Division


Todd Oakley and David Plachetski, University of California Santa Barbara

Tentacles of Hydra magnipapillata.

Cell nuclei (blue) were labelled with DAPI, neuronal cells (red) with an antibody against acetylated beta-tubulin and a cy3-conjugated secondary, and filamentous actin (green) with FITC-conjugated phalloidin.

Confocal microscopy. Maximum width of tentacles, 80 µm.


Grayscale Division


Abigail Reft, The Ohio State University

Fired stenotele nematocyst of Hydra.

Scanning electron microscopy.

Color Division


Andreas Hejnol, University of Hawaii at Manoa Veliger larva of the snail Crepidula fornicata.

Red is cell-tracing dye Ruby-red, which was injected into the 4A macromere; counterlabelled with phalloidin (green: actin) and DAPI (blue: nuclei).

Epifluorescence microscopy.


Grayscale Division

Bruno Pernet & Julianne Piraino Cal St Univ Long Beach, CA; Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, FL

Larva of an unidentified phyllodocid polychaete.

Color Division

Sara Lindsay, University of Maine

Jaws of a juvenile nereid polychaete.

Differential interference contrast microscopy.


Grayscale Division

Joris M. Koene Vrije Universiteit Love darts of four species of land snails Xerarionta kellettii (top left), Leptaxis erubescens (top right), Cepaea hortensis (bottom left), and Monachoides vicinus (bottom right).

Scanning electron microscopy.

Color Division

Monika C.M. Müller Universität Osnabrück

The nervous system of a chimeric specimen of the polychaete Dorvillea bermudensis.

Labelled with antibodies against acetylated alpha-tubulin; colors represent depth coding, with more ventral structures in red, and more dorsal in blue.

Confocal microscopy.


2004 Winner of the Bauchsbaum Prize

Patricia Lee & David Matus University of Hawai

Pilidium larva of the nemertean Cerebratulus sp.

Labelled with phalloidin (green: actin) and DAPI (blue: nuclei).

Confocal microscopy.


2003 Winner of the Bauchsbaum Prize

Steve Kemp, Auburn University

The larva of Nereis sp.

Labelled with antibodies for serotonin (red) and acetylated tubulin (green) to show the nervous system and ciliary bands, respectively.

Confocal microscopy.


2002 Winner of the Buchsbaum Prize

Matt Hooge University of Maine

The acoel turbellarian Praeconvoluta tornuva. Labelled with phalloidin and viewed with epifluorescence microscopy. Orange particles are autofluorescing diatoms in the digestive syncitium.

Epifluorescence microscopy