The Ocean Under the Microscope: Images from Nikon Small World

The ocean is so big that it can be easy to forget the microscopic beauty of the organisms that live within. Some of this beauty is documented by the Nikon Small World photomicrography competition, which since 1979 has awarded prizes to artists and scientists who take the most beautiful photos from under a microscope. In this slideshow, admire your favorite marine organisms (and some new ones) from a new perspective at up to 500x zoom.

This spiraled diatom has cell walls made of silica, each containing a cell that glitters like gold and spiky spines that help it stay afloat.