Dr. Jan Michels, Christian-Albrechts-Universi
It might sound a bit cramped, but there's an entire world of organisms that can call a drop of water their home. And, up close, they look practically out-of-this-world. Each year, the Nikon Small World competition sets out to collect some of the best microphotography. Take a look at some of this year's most stunning images of creatures that live in water. This photo from Dr. Jan Michels of Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in Kiel, Germany shows Temora longicornis, a marine copepod, from its ventral view at 10 times magnification.
SEE MORE PHOTOS: It's a Nikon Small World After All
Frank Fox, Fachhochschule Trier/Nikon Small W
This microphotograph shows the diatom Melosira moniliformis at 320 times its size.
Jonathan Franks, University of Pittsburgh/Nik
This algae biofilm photographed up-close makes what's usually referred to as "pond scum" look like art.
Michael Shribak and Dr. Irina Arkhipova, Mari
This Philodina roseola rotifer was alive and well when this microphotograph was taken.
Dr. Ralf Wagner/Nikon Small World
This microphoto shows a water flea flanked by green algae.
NEWS: Tiny Flea Has More Genes Than You
Charles Krebs Photography/Nikon Small World
Warfare in a water droplet! This microphoto shows a Hydra capturing a water flea at 40-times magnification.
NEWS: Ocean's Most Abundant Food Source Disappearing
Dr. John H. Brackenbury, University of Cambri
One of the ultimate human pests -- the mosquito -- begins life as larvae, here shown suspended in a single droplet of water.
Gerd A. Guenther/Nikon Small World
Ever wonder what sex between two freshwater ciliates looks like magnified at 630 times its actual size? Now you know!
Joan Rohl, Institute for Biochemistry and Bio
This freshwater water flea is shown at 100 times its actual size.
Wolfgang Bettighofer/Nikon Small World
Closterium lunula, a kind of green alga, is shown here. This particular specimen came from a bog pond, according to the photographer.
John Gaynes, University of Utah/Nikon Small W
While it may resemble a visitor from outer space, this is what a zebrafish embryo looks like under a microscope, three days after being fertilized.
Dr. Carlos Alberto Muñoz, University of Puer
This microscopic crustacean appears yellowish-orange because it is mounted in Canada Balsam with crystals and other artifacts.
At long last villagers in India are getting clean water from ATM-style kiosks. A program that’s started up in rural areas dispenses several gallons at a time for the equivalent of a penny. No need to wait around for a water truck or take a gamble at an untreated well.
Access to clean water is an enormous problem throughout India, particularly in slums. Water from wells drilled in the ground tends to be poor in quality and can be dangerously contaminated. Tankers dispense water for free, but service is erratic and limited. When a tanker does stop, getting the water can be time-consuming and chaotic, according to a recent report by the global innovation firm Frog Design.
The water delivery service company Sarvajal, in collaboration with Frog Design and with support from the Piramal Foundation, has plans to install 50 water ATMs in slum redevelopment communities, GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher reported. Right now the company already has 35 kiosks installed in urban areas. The water comes from local wells but is treated using reverse osmosis and UV. Franchise owners operate the solar-powered ATMs.
These self-service kiosks can take either rupees or pre-paid cards. One rupee, which equals a penny, dispenses about 2.6 gallons of treated water, NDTV reported. Although the system is for-profit, the price is much lower than buying water bottles, water pouches or four-gallon water jugs. Those options range from seven to 32 cents per quart, according to Frog Design’s research. It’s also more reliable and faster than waiting for a tanker.
In rural Kanakapura, an area near Bangalore, a local politician and his businessman brother brought in a water ATM pilot program, the Telegraph’s Dean Nelson wrote. While the program has been popular, NDTV’s Radhika Iyer reported that it’s unclear how long it will remain in place after elections. I do hope the kiosks stay and end up more than breaking even. Otherwise it’s back to a gut-wrenching past.
Photo: Water tanker service is erratic and limited for this resettled slum in India. A new ATM-like network could provide predictable, affordable clean water. Credit: Journeys for Water report, Frog Design