The anode-supported solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) degrades when the anode is subjected to redox cycling. The degradation has qualitatively been related to microstructural changes in the nickel-yttria stabilized zirconia anode of the tested cells. In this work, the microstructural changes were observed in situ using environmental scanning electron microscopy. In the reduced state, a dynamic rounding of the nickel particles occurred. The oxide growth upon re-oxidation depended on the oxidation kinetics. During rapid oxidation, the NiO particles divided into 2-4 particles, which grew into the surrounding voids. For slower oxidation, an external oxide layer was seen to develop around the individual particles. (c) 2006 The Electrochemical Society.