College of Science 2020 Science Photography and Graphic Arts Contest
Announcing the winners of the 2020 College of Science Photography and Graphic Arts Contest!
This year six finalists have been chosen to be displayed in the Mines third floor hallway.
Pictured is the articulated skeleton of a desert kangaroo rat (Dipodomys deserti). Despite inhabiting an incredibly unforgiving environment, these small bipedal rodents manage to thrive. By successfully mitigating a host of habitat-specific challenges, the species presents an ideal model for studying the balance between musculoskeletal morphology and locomotor performance in the context of a complex environment.
Barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) are a subspecies of caribou found in the Barrenlands region of Arctic Canada. The migratory herds, named after the location of their traditional calving grounds, are the socioeconomic cornerstone of many northern indigenous people and centrally important to arctic ecology. This lone bull is a member of the Bathurst herd, a herd who migrates north from the Great Slave Lake to Bathurst Inlet on the Arctic Coast. Now on the precipice of an ecological disaster, the Bathurst herd was once abundant but, due to climate change and industrial mining along their migration routes, has dwindled from 470,000 animals in the mid-1980s to a low of just over 8,000 today.
The blood-feeding interface is an important aspect of mosquito biology, but it is also of critical importance to parasite biology and public health. This intersection is where disease transmission occurs, both from the mosquito to the human host, and from the human host to the mosquito. Strategies to reduce the impact of mosquito-borne disease must consider the complex interactions between all three parts (the host, the mosquito vector, and the parasite). As shown in this photograph, female mosquitos are exquisitely sensitive to hosts’ cues, such as heat and carbon dioxide, to find their next blood meal, which allows them to lay their eggs. They flock to the hand within seconds and attempt to feed, and in doing so, may continue the lifecycle of pathogens they have picked up along the way. In Dr. Luckhart’s lab, where this photograph was taken, we use these mosquitos to study the effects of malaria parasites on both the mosquito vector and the mammalian host. Malaria parasites profoundly alter the biology of both hosts to facilitate their own transmission, so we must always consider how the blood-feeding interface comes into play in our system.
This photograph tells the story about the chemistry of water. It expresses the science behind the everyday tasks that someone partakes in. For instance, while drinking water one might not be thinking about the structure of the molecule that make this essential compound so vital for life. This piece is meant to highlight just that – the science behind our everyday lives.
Over 65,000 kilometers (40,000+ miles) long and wrapping around the entirety of the globe, mid-ocean ridges are the main source regions of newly created crustal earth. Frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquake swarms occur at these divergent plate boundaries as a direct result of earth-shattering extensional forces, literally. In-person observation of geologic features such as faults, fissures, and lava morphologies, along with geophysical measurements and compositional analysis, can help scientists infer what is happening below the crust. However, it is extremely difficult to study mid-ocean ridges due to the high pressures at the bottom of the ocean, requiring very specialized equipment. That hasn’t stopped the dumbo octopus (pictured) from making an appearance just outside of the titanium walls of the HOV Alvin, greater than 3500 meters (~2.25 miles) below sea level.
This image of the galactic core of the Milky Way was created by combining 3 hours of tracked 2-minute exposures into a single image. It was captured under the dark skies of City of Rocks State Park in southern Idaho in late June of 2020. Every single point of brightness is a star with the exception of the two brightest and largest points towards the left edge - these are Saturn (left) and Jupiter (right). The red blur in the foreground is due to the motion of the star tracker.