2016 Photomicrography Competition

Image of Distinction

Viperfish (Chauliodus sloani)

Dr. Alvaro Roura

Instituto de Investigacións Mariñas
Ecology and Marine Biodiversity (ECOBIOMAR)
Vigo, Spain

Reflected Light, Darkfield


Here’s a face you wouldn’t want to see during an undersea adventure. Dr. Alvaro Roura’s Viperfish inspires awe and terror in equal measure. Dr. Roura sorted this Viperfish from a plankton sample collected at night in the surface waters of the Iberian Peninsula. He chose this photo in part because of how it features the “blue” spot under the Viperfish’s eye. The spot produces a red light that brings red prey out of the dark, an extraordinary adaptation for the predator. What’s even more amazing about this photo? It was taken aboard a research vessel surrounded by waves that made the shot very difficult to take.

Dr. Roura’s research is focused on the ecology of zooplankton at The Instituto de Investigacións Mariñas in Vigo, Spain. He has been taking micrographs for eight years.