Close-up of a Portuguese man-of-war, Physalia physalis, from the Pacific Ocean (Hawaiian Islands). The man-of-war is a siphonophore, a cnidarian made up of floating (pneumatophore), prey-catching (dactylozoid), digestive (gastrozoid) and reproductive (gonozoid) polyps that form an entire colony.
This image is one of the first prize winners of The EMBO Journal Cover Contest 2014, in the category "Best Non-Scientific Image". The editors invite you to visit covercontest.embo.org to see the other winner ("Best Scientific Image") and to browse a small gallery of shortlisted images selected by the jury. Send an email to email@example.com if you would like to receive an early notification when the 2015 contest opens.
The man-of-war specimen was photographed by Eric Röttinger, a developmental biologist who recently joined the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging in Nice, France (www.ircan.org) to study the molecular mechanisms underlying embryogenesis, regeneration and aging in a sea anemone.
Eric is also the co-founder of the non-profit organization Kahi Kai (‘one ocean’ in native Hawaiian) and initiator of a worldwide project to portray sea creatures. Eric has a profound interest in illustrating the fascinating elegance and beauty of these marine organisms, but also in showing their important roles in fundamental and biomedical research. The website www.kahikaiimages.com features more of these amazing sealife portraits.