First place: The blood-brain barrier in a live zebrafish embryo (2ox). Jennifer Peters and Michael Taylor.

It's a happy day for those of us who appreciate the small things! Nikon has announced the 2012 winners of its venerable Small World Photomicrography Competition. The prestigious contest, now in its 38th year, ranks images captured with various methods of microscopy. And I must say, the galleries are stunning! Go visit:

Nikon Small World

Below are a few of my favorites.

20th place: Embryos of the species Molossus rufus, the black mastiff bat. Dorit Hockman.

Honarable Mention: Eye and first segments of Cucujus cinnaberinus (Cinnabar flat beetle). Nikola Rahme.

13th place: Sonderia sp., a ciliate that preys upon various algae, diatoms, andcyanobacteria. Diana Lipscomb.

Honorable Mention: Radiolaria cells. Ralph Claus Grimm

Next year’s deadline is April 30, 2013. How to do well? Here's my advice from last year.