The incredible tiny world of microbiology

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

The winners of Olympus' annual live sciences photography competition are in, with the top 10 submissions revealing an entire world of microscopic wonder.

It's the 10th year of Olympus' BioScapes international digital-imaging competition — where photographers from around the globe can send in their photos and videos of a world that usually goes unseen by human eyes. Captured via light microscope, the images are of live science specimens studied in laboratories — and entrants can use any magnification, lighting and brand of equipment.

Hidenao Tsuchiya, Olympus America's vice president and general manager for the Scientific Equipment Group, said of the competition:

Microscope images forge an extraordinary bond between science and art. We founded this competition to focus on the fascinating stories coming out of today's life science research laboratories. The thousands of images that people have shared with the competition over the years reflect some of the most exciting work going on in research today — work that can help shed light on the living universe and ultimately save lives. We look at BioScapes and these beautiful images as sources of education and inspiration to us and the world.

This year's winner was Ralph Grimm, a teacher from Jimboomba, Queensland, a small town about 45 kilometres south of Brisbane. Grimm's work in microbial imaging has won multiple awards and accolades in the past, including honourable mentions and "image of distinction" awards in this year's Nikon Small World competition. His winning BioScapes entry is a 58-second video — the first video to win the competition — capturing the rapid movements of pond-dwelling colonial rotifers' cilia, with their red eyes clearly visible.

We've collected the top 10 winners here for your viewing pleasure (in order of placement), but you can check out the full gallery on the official site, which includes an extensive and beautiful collection of honourable mentions.

If you want to enter the 2013 competition, visit the BioScapes website for the terms and conditions.

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