News Release

BMC Ecology Image Competition 2015 winners announced

Grant and Award Announcement

BMC (BioMed Central)

Palestinian Sunbird Feeding in Saudi Arabia

image: In this image, a female Palestinian sunbird forages on <i>Echinops sp</i>. This photo was taken at Deisa valley, Tabouk, North West Saudi Arabia in April 2015. The bird is found the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. The male of the bird is completely different in color than the female; the male has a blue color. The bird has a long tongue and mostly feedson flower nectar. Navigating the spikes on those flowers is clearly a tricky feat, a task for which the bird is well-adapted. She is perfectly in tune with her environment and is enjoying a peaceful, and probably delicious, snack. The flashily colored male birds and their dramatic plumage are surely a sight to behold, but this image proves that you don't have to be bright blue to attract admiration. view more 

Credit: Mohamed Shebl

This year's BMC Ecology Image Competition includes photos showing a Palestinian sunbird's careful maneuvers, endangered storks foraging in a garbage dump and a pregnant bat in mid-flight. The 32 images showcase a diverse range of interspecies relationships, from seemingly-unlikely symbiotic partnerships, to the perilous world of predation and carnivorous plants.

Now in its third year, the BMC Ecology Image Competition gives ecologists across the globe the opportunity to share their perspective with the rest of the world.

Guest judge Ana Porzecanski, Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, said: "The set of winning images are a powerful snapshot of the beauty, the diversity, and the profound changes taking place in the biosphere of our planet today. One cannot help but marvel when faced with the intricacy of these ecological interactions - including those with human beings. The images were striking, inspiring, and in some cases, also sad and sobering."

The winning image shows a female Palestinian sunbird in Saudi Arabia reaching down to retrieve flower nectar from a thistle, requiring careful and delicate navigation to avoid the plant's spikes.

Competition winner Mohamed Shebl from Suez Canal University, Egypt, said: "I spent almost two days photographing these Palestinian sunbirds. I'm used to taking close photos of tiny bees, but I have never photographed birds before. This was a huge challenge for me, and I spent hours adapting myself for taking photos from far away. Although the Palestinian sunbird is larger than a bee, it is much faster, and therefore takes longer to get a good image."

One of the runner-up images was a striking photo of the world's most endangered storks foraging in their last stronghold - the Indian garbage dumps of Guwahati City. Another runner-up image showed the mutually beneficial relationship between a carpenter ant and a rare endemic plant of Brazil.

A close-up photo showing the faces of two juvenile baboons was chosen as the Editor's Pick, while the BMC Ecology editorial board selected category winners that included a photo highlighting the weird and wonderful antenna of the male lampýridae beetle in Chile.

Highly commended entries presented weaver ants protecting a caterpillar, a juvenile Mozambique tilapia fish seeking shelter in its mother's mouth, an ant entangled in the sticky tentacles of a Japanese carnivorous plant, a pregnant bat in mid-flight in Mexico, and black bears playing in Pakistan.


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Notes to editor:

1. The images can be viewed as a contact sheet here:

Image descriptions are available here:

Individual full resolution images are available here:

Please include the credit information provided in the filenames and image descriptions in any re-use. More images are included in the Editorial below, and are available on request.

2. Editorial

BMC Ecology Image Competition 2015: the winning images

Catherine J Potenski, Ana Luz Porzecanski, Michel Baguette, Jean Clobert, David Hughes and Josef Settele

BMC Ecology 2015

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