"Photography is an effective tool for capturing the attention of general audiences," said Robert Gropp, Interim Co-Executive Director of AIBS. "It's important that we endeavor to help people understand how scientific research is done. Over the past five years, the Faces of Biology Photo Contest has inspired scientists, educators, and students to explore ways they can communicate their work through imagery with the public."
The contest is an opportunity for members of the scientific community to showcase the varied forms that biological research can take. The photos will be used to help the public and policymakers better understand the value of biological research and education.
First Place Winner--Florencia Mazza Ramsay
Photographer Florencia Mazza Ramsay spent three months in Alaska documenting Arctic research, local culture, and the impacts of climate change. She photographed owl researcher Denver Holt as he documented a nest of newly hatched snowy owls near Barrow. At each nest he noted the condition of the owlets and the types of captured prey--in this photo a rodent and a partially eaten bird are visible.
Second Place Winner--Isa Betancourt
Isa Betancourt, a curatorial assistant of entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, won Second Place. Her photo depicts her co-worker Stephen Mason preparing moth and butterfly specimens for inclusion in the Academy's entomology collection. The insects' wings are spread and meticulously set to dry before the specimens can be added to the collection.
Third Place Winner--Tyeen Taylor
Tyeen Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Arizona, won Third Place for his photo documenting the installation of a light sensor on a tree branch by Ph.D. student Marielle Smith. The light sensors detect the amount of light that infiltrates the tree canopy. This information is linked with other measurements of forest structure and function at an Amazonian research site, which together help researchers understand how forests respond to climatic changes.
The March 2016 issue of the journal BioScience will feature the first place photo on the cover and the second and third place photos in an article. All of the winners will receive a one-year membership in AIBS, including a subscription to BioScience. Ramsay will also receive $250.