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Olympus Bioscapes 2011 Competition 5th Place and an Honorable Mention for NOAA Volunteer

James Nicholson, career microscopist in the Medical University of SC Pathology Department, finds corals fascinating and dedicates most Fridays to NOAA as a volunteer. He scored a 5th place with his image of a single polyp from a colony of the scleractinian coral Goniastrea sp. Unique in this image was the use of both natural coral fluorescence and reflected blue light to highlight the depth of the coral calice, the upper open or oral surface of the polyp’s skeleton.

In addition, Jim's image of a Montastraea sp. coral merited ‘Honorable Mention’. Both images take advantage of the natural fluorescence that many coral species display. This is Jim’s third year in a row to achieve recognition by the Olympus Bioscapes Selection Committee. Many of Jim’s photomicrographs and videos will be available on this webpage in the near future.

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Olympus Bioscapes Competition 3rd Place and an Honorable Mention for NOAA Volunteer

James Nicholson, career microscopist in the Medical University of SC Pathology Department, finds corals fascinating and dedicates most Fridays to NOAA as a volunteer. He scored an impressive 3rd place with his image of a Fungia, a solitary scleractinian coral.

This fascinating image caught the attention of the editor at Scientific American who features the Olympus competition winners. Jim’s image earned a full-page display in the December 2010 issue’s article entitled ‘Life Unseen – Microscopic landscapes show a surprising diversity of forms’ (Scientific American 303(6)70-75[2010]).

In addition, Jim’s image of an Acroporid coral merited ‘Honorable Mention’. Both images take advantage of the natural fluorescence that many coral species display. Many of Jim’s photomicrographs and videos will be available on this webpage in the near future.

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NOAA Volunteer Competes Successfully in the Nikon “Small World” Photomicrography Competition

James Nicholson, career microscopist in the Medical University of South Carolina Pathology Department, finds corals fascinating and dedicates most Fridays to NOAA as a volunteer. In this year’s competition he scored a 15th Place with his image of a diseased Porites lobata displaying exaggerated red fluorescence associated with a tissue pigmentation response (TPR). His genius with a fluorescent microscope takes advantage of most corals’ inherent ability to fluoresce when stimulated with lights ranging from UV to violet and blue through green. In this case the red fluorescence exhibited by this coral is diagnostic for the TPR condition.

The delicate, often transparent, features of coral polyps come alive when emitting fluorescence, enabling the imaging of structures of live corals difficult to visualize under typical room lighting. He particularly enjoys the chance to observe changes in live coral health and behavior at a microscopic level while avoiding the perils of normal microscopy wherein the sample/specimen is sliced/diced, fixed, stained and mounted for static observation.

In addition to his outstanding photomicrographs, ‘Jim’ has captured some extraordinary videos using time-capture photography. An interesting note is that Jim’s 2009 winning entry, Image of Distinction, is being used as the banner on the Small World e-mail updates shown on the Nikon Homepage. Many of Jim’s photomicrographs and videos will be available on this webpage in the near future.

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