From close-ups that capture the animated life of insects, to aerial views of vast landscapes, the 2017 BMC Ecology Image Competition has produced a terrific array of images that reflect the variety of research in progress in the field. All images are open access and available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
The overall winning image by Ana Carolina Lima, University of Aveiro, Portugal is a photo of giant South American turtles (Podocnemis expansa). The picture was taken in one of the most important areas of conservation for this species; the Cantão State Park, in Tocantins, Brazil. It is located in one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world; the Cerrardo, the largest savannah in South America.
Guest judge Chris Darimont, University of Victoria, Canada said: "This image provides a rare, multi-layered perspective from above. The photo is well composed, technically sound, and rich with wonderful geometry".
The winner was chosen from 127 entries. There were two overall runners up and winners from five categories: Community, Population and Macroecology; Behavioral Ecology and Physiology; Conservation Ecology and Biodiversity; Landscape Ecology and Ecosystems; and the Editor's Pick.
The six winning images and 24 commended images highlight pressing issues in ecology, from the effort species undergo to pass their genes down to the next generation, to the way in which humans can affect natural processes, or the threats species face from uncontrolled development. All images are released free to use under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Of the Editor's Pick, an image by Michelle Achlatis, University of Queensland, Australia section editor Dominique Mazzi said: "The image seems to present a coral reef surprisingly lacking in animal life. That is until you notice the large octopus hidden in plain sight. If you are having trouble finding it, look for the eye exactly in the middle of the picture."
Section Editor Michel Baguette added: "The picture is a reminder of how integrated the different species are within coral ecosystems; this octopus, so beautifully adapted to its environment, could clearly not survive outside this habitat."
One of the runner up images, by Roberto García-Roa from the University of Valencia, Spain, shows a predatory spider, camouflaged by the white plant on which it hunts, which has caught a large bee that is also being attacked by a parasitic fly.
Section editor Simon Blanchet said: "By encapsulating a four-way species interaction, this picture perfectly illustrates the dependence of species on each other."
Highly commended images include a photo of a Galapagos sea lion dozing in the sand, a well-disguised Malaysian orchid mantis, and an aerial view of the Sado River estuary in southern Portugal.
Now in its fifth year, the BMC Ecology Image competition was created to give ecologists the chance to share their research and photographic skills, and celebrate the intersection of art and science.
Chris Foote, editor at the BMC series, said: "We were delighted at the variety and quality of the images submitted to the 2017 Image Competition. Having the input of respected scientists as our judges ensures our winning images are picked as much for the scientific story behind them as for the technical quality and beauty of the images themselves. As such, the competition very much reflects BMC's ethos of innovation, curiosity and integrity. We thank all those who took part in this year's competition, and congratulate our winning photographers; we hope our readers enjoyed their work as much as we have."
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Notes to editors:
2. Editorial announcing the winners:
BMC Ecology Image Competition 2017: the winning images
Foote et al BMC Ecology 2017
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