Imaging prize brings natural world into clear focus

Imaging competition entries
Entries for the Hans Schuppe Image Prize come from across the University of Southampton.

Students from across the University of Southampton have, once again, shared their biological imaging talents through an annual competition organised to honour the memory of a former academic.

The Hans Schuppe Image Prize, managed by the University’s Imaging Microscopy Centre (IMC) is open to every undergraduate and postgraduate student in Southampton’s School of Biological Sciences to submit up to three images related to biology in the widest possible sense – from microscopic images and x-ray scans to zoological and botanical photographs of wildlife and the environment.

The Prize, established in 2016, is named in honour of Dr Hans Schuppe, founder of the state-of-the-art IMC who sadly died in 2013. Colleagues and former students remember Dr Schuppe as a deeply popular member of staff who was passionate about helping people and committed to excellence in teaching, advancing optical imaging and working with others to get the most out of their own microscopy.

The IMC’s technology supports a spectrum of scientific research – from studies investigating human health conditions to research that aims to solve environmental problems. The facility is available to resarchers across the University in areas such as biosciences, chemistry, medicine and engineering as well as external users from other universities and businesses.

Dr Hans Schuppe Image Prize 2021

This year’s competition was judged by Dr Mark Willett, the University’s Imaging Services Manager, and Dr Neil Gostling, Lecturer in Evolution and Palaeobiology and lead for the Zoology programme.

This year’s overall winner for 2021 is Magda Steele, a PhD candidate in Biological Sciences who captured a very small Bolete snail enjoying a fungal fruiting body in the woods on the University’s Highfield Campus. Although the images is not related to her research, Magda says they reflect ecology in general and show that “thriving ecocystems can be found even in the heart of the city.”

The judges loved Magda’s image which they said shows Biology in three kingdoms – fungal, animals and plants as well as the ecological interaction of all three. “To discover that it was taken on campus just shows how lucky we are with the university’s environment,” the judges commented.

Runner-up for 2021 is Matthew Woodard, postgraduate researcher in Ocean and Earth Science, whose prize-winning image is a close-up of a Musk Beetle (Aromia mochata) found and photographed in the New Forest in 2020. Matthew says it was a real treat to find this beetle – one of the UK’s longest – on a rare day out in-between lockdowns. He adds, “they get their name from a characteristic musky smell that can be detected on leaves they have visited.”

The judges like the amazing detail of Matthew’s image which is so well focused and not only had a real sense of three-dimension but of character as well. “We don’t get to see close-ups of our native beetles like this very often and its really quite amazing to see what they actually look like,” said the judges.

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The overall winner is Magda Steele, a PhD candidate in Biological Sciences who captured a very small Bolete snail enjoying a fungal fruiting body in the woods on the University’s Highfield Campus.
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Runner-up for 2021 is Matthew Woodard, postgraduate researcher in Ocean and Earth Science, whose prize-winning image is a close-up of a Musk Beetle (Aromia mochata) found and photographed in the New Forest in 2020.
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Competition entry by Anna Cooper – Common Blue Butterfly taken during fieldwork in Summer 2020 for Anna’s undergraduate project on the change in biodiversity and abundance of plant and pollinator species overtime, and the current effects of conservation grazing on the biodiversity of these species.
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Competition entry by Anna Cooper – Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly. “It was interesting to learn about butterfly, bumblebee and wildflower plant identification. The project will be able to inform the Wildlife Trust on changes to their grazing management plan and the sowing of native wildflower seeds.”
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Competition entry by Anna Cooper – Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly.
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Entry by Ben Batchelor – microscopy centers Confocal microscope of an entire fly brain. The purple is from an antibody that targets the active zone of drosophila synapses and the cyan a different antibody that marks nuclei; together they mark out structures of the drosophila brain.
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Entry by Ben Batchelor – microscopy centers Confocal microscope of a fly brain. Using genetic modification, we can express the human Tau protein (involved in Alzheimer’s) within a distinct set of neurons (green), whilst using a stain against the nuclei (cyan) to delineate the rest of the brain.
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Entry by Ben Batchelor – microscopy centers Confocal microscope of a fly brain. The red and green is an antibody stain against the active zone of drosophila synapses and allows us to navigate easily throughout the drosophila brain.
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Entry by Holly McIndoe – Kingfisher. “My chosen images represent my chosen degree subject – zoology.”
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Entry by Holly McInoe – Bee. “My passion of wildlife photography made me decide to go into higher education as a mature student, where I can one day work in wildlife conservation and research to help safeguard their future.
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Entry by Jack Hetherington.
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Entry by Jack Hetherington.
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Entry by Jack Hetherington.
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Entry by Magda Steele – 1. Ematurga atomaria – female common heath moth on Calluna vulgaris, common heath. “How can two things so common be so beautiful?”
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Entry by Magda Steele – 3. Graphocephala fennahi – Rhododendron leafhopper on a bud of its host plant. Both species were introduced to the UK, but only the plant is considered invasive because G. fennahi is a specialist herbivore.
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Entry by Manal Hosawi – Microtubes frameworks. The presented image was taken from mammary epithelial cell line in which we labelled the growing tips of microtubules. This cell line is a great tool to study the dynamic of microtubules during cell division.
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Entry by Maria Frankhaenel – Mammary organoids. The image shows different stages of the formation of mammary organoids – from a small unorganized cell system to highly organized and polarized cells with a hollow lumen.
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Entry by Matthew Woodard.
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Entry by Matthew Woodard.

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