TRR 356 Plant Microbe

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Public photo competition: "Pflanzen und ihr Mikrokosmos"

The photo competition is aimed at all nature-loving photographers from the age of 13, encouraging them to go out and discover the fascinating interplay between plants and microorganisms.


The motif

Microorganisms, also known as microbes, are microscopically small creatures such as bacteria, algae, and fungi. Although we cannot recognise them with the naked eye, they make themselves visible around and on plants.

On the one hand, microbes can cause plant diseases as pathogens, which show up as symptoms on leaves, shoots and roots. On the other hand, they form beneficial symbiotic relationships with plants. A well-known example is mycorrhiza, a symbiosis between fungi and plants in which both organisms benefit from the exchange of nutrients.

We are looking for photo motifs that show either such a beneficial or harmful interaction between plants and microorganisms.

Ideally, it should be a close-up or macro shot in nature.

Suitable photo motifs can be discovered at home in the garden, on the balcony, in meadows and fields, on a walk in the forest or on a hiking tour. Microorganisms are everywhere around plants and form relationships with them.

Here are some examples of photographs showing the interaction between plants and microbes:

Beispielbilder Fotowettbewerb

a) Nodules on a bean root. For nitrogen fixation, the nodules form a symbiosis with bacteria of the genus Rhizobium. b) Lichens on a tree trunk. The inconspicuous double creatures consist of two organisms living in symbiosis; a fungus and usually a green or blue-green alga. c) Powdery mildew on grapes. This fair-weather fungus is characterised by white spots and is particularly prevalent in hot summer months. d) Turkey tail on branches. The white rot fungus prefers shady and damp areas. e) Close-up of plant roots. Roots are often centre of plant-microbe interactions.


The pictures will be honoured in two age categories:

  • Age category I: 13-17 years (youth)
  • Age category II: 18 years and older (adults)

Our expert jury will honour the two best submissions in each age category. Winning does not mainly depend on professional equipment, but above all on creative motifs that provide an interesting perspective on the interaction between plants and microbes.

Important: Submissions from age category I "youth" can only be considered in combination with a signed declaration of consent by a legal representative.

Submission of photos

Send us your favourite photos (up to three photos per participant) digitally to this e-mail address, considering our conditions of participation:

Important: By submitting photographs, you agree to our conditions of participation.

Please state your full name and age category (I "Youth" or II "Adult") when submitting your picture and include the following information for each photograph:

  • Title of the photography
  • Date of photography
  • Location (e.g. city, region, biotope)
  • 3 sentences short description of the motif (e.g. plant species, symbiosis partner, pathogen/plant disease, daytime, photo situation, motivation for the photograph)

Please ensure that the resolution of each image is sufficient. Ideally, you submit the photographs as JPEG files with a resolution of 2000 x 3000 pixels (16.9 x 25.4 cm at 300 dpi).

The picture(s) must be taken by yourself. The image rights and copyrights must be owned by the participants.

Please find all information in German on our outreach page.

Submission deadline: 1 August 2024

The winners will be notified by e-mail approx. one month after the closing date and will be invited to the photo exhibition on plant-microbe interactions in the Botanical Garden Munich-Nymphenburg.

What the winners will receive

  • The four awarded photographs will be shown in this year's photo exhibition on plant-microbe interactions at the Botanical Garden Munich-Nymphenburg and will be published on its Instagram channel.
  • The winners will be invited to the opening of the plant-microbe exhibition in the Botanical Garden Munich-Nymphenburg, plus an accompanying person. (More about our previous exhibition in 2023)
  • The winners will each receive a high-quality photography book matching the competition theme and a surprise gift with a total value of about €100.
The prizes cannot be paid out in cash. Legal recourse is excluded.

Information to download


This photo competition is organised by the research network SFB TRR356 PlantMicrobe with kind support of the Botanical Garden Munich-Nymphenburg.


If you have any questions about participating in the photo competition, you can contact us via e-mail:

We look forward to your discoveries!