Rob is a runner up of the “Research Images as Art” Contest. Well done, Rob!
“Water droplets are often overlooked. Caused by rain, spills and splashes, an unthinkable amount of them form every day. As they travel, they not only transport water, but anything held in them as well. This makes them important for the transport of solid materials and even living, microscopic organisms. When these droplets land on a surface, they tend to evaporate. Despite their common nature, evaporating droplets are deceptively complex and their behaviour is sensitive to many factors. In the dark-field microscope images here, we see four deposits from water droplets containing bacteria after the droplet has dried. Depending on different conditions, bacteria seem to actively influence their deposition; in a sense, a form of microscopic city planning. These structures may help the bacteria survive outside the water environment that they are used to.”