First Place: Plant "Phallus"
An image of the mustard plant's male reproductive organ, enlarged 20 times under a microscope, took top honors in the 2009 Small World Photomicrography Competition
, announced October 8. (See last year's winners.
is the first plant to have its genome fully sequenced and is commonly used as a model in scientific research.
But it was the unusually artistic appearance of the winning shot that inspired photomicrographer and plant biologist Heiti Paves, of the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, to enter it into the 35-year-old competition, she said in a statement.
Sponsored by Nikon, the annual contest showcases "the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."
Photograph by Dr. Heiti Paves, courtesy Nikon Small World