It's in the Eyes

Honorable Mention
Jeremy Rios (Undergraduate Student)
Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology


Fungi, an organism associated with decomposition, is not typically easy on the eyes. However, this image provides insight to the many different forms of fungi and how they look. Fungi are an important part of our world and provide crucial ecosystem services. Many species live within plants and either benefit or harm their hosts. Their early life stages are composed of threadlike filaments called hyphae. These delicate strands push through their media to find food and grow. This image, which gives the appearance of an eye, shows the growth of a fungi sample.

A small cutting from an infected Manzanita was taken and placed on an agar plate. Any fungi residing within the plant tissue feeds on the agar and spreads throughout the dish. As the organism grows in all directions, some areas become thicker than others. After a few days, the explosive growth resulted in this colorful ensemble of hyphae. I used a dissecting microscope with a light shining beneath the plate to capture this image.

Link to video