Nikon today announced the winners in its yearly "Small World in Motion Photomicrography Competition," a contest open to anyone with the video equipment and interest in life down at the micro level.
Stanford University's William Gilpin took top honors for his footage, below, of an eight-week-old starfish larva causing intricate patterns in the water while searching for food. The larva, not even 1 millimeter (0.04 inch) long, displays how it has evolved appendages that create vortices of water that bring food its way in an efficient manner.
"While starfish are the among the first animals that have evolved to control the environment around them in this manner, science proves that adaptations are likely mimicked by other more-complex animals later," said Gilpin in a statement. "Biology aside, this process can also be the foundation for industrial purposes for something like advancements in water filters for precise manipulation of water."