These Photos Reveal How Magnificent Our World Is On The Micro Level

The winning photos this year in Nikon’s annual Small World Photomicrography Competition offer an up-close look at our world’s microscopic realm — things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

The annual competition, in its 41st year, recognizes some of the best photography taken under a microscope. This year’s contest cast a bigger net than last year’s with more than 2,000 entries from more than 80 countries that were considered.

The winning image, by Australian photographer Ralph Grimm, shows the super-magnified eye of a honey bee covered in dandelion pollen, a nod to the recent and disturbing decline of honey bee populations.

“I am scared of the possibility that the decline of the honey bee may be the first indication or global warning of many more species beginning to decline as our city-expansive and environmentally destructive habits on this Earth shamelessly continue,” Grimm told The Huffington Post, “My bee eye in a way is a message to all people on this Earth to take ‘a closer look.'”

Have a look at the top 20 winning photos, and the honorable mentions below. Enjoy!

Editor’s note: HuffPost Science’s Jacqueline Howard was a judge in the competition alongside Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Tim Mitchison, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering investigator Dr. Hari Shroff, and Discover Magazine photo editor Ernie Mastroianni.

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