“A light in the shadows” by Roberto Garcia Roa. Overall Winner. Location: Tambopata, Peru “The glowing golden eyes of a Helena's Treefrog pierce the darkness as this frog perches on a mossy tree in the Peruvian jungle of Tambopata.”
The glowing eyes of a treefrog in Peru earned photographer Roberto Garcia Roa the grand prize of the British Ecological Society’s annual photography competition. Roa, a conservation photographer and evolutionary biologist at Lund University, took the image in Tambopata. This region of Peru is currently threatened by gold mining, making his photograph a stark reminder of the nature that could be lost as the industry develops.
“Winning the British Ecological Society’s Capturing Ecology photography competition with this image has a special significance to me for many reasons,” he shared. “First, it links two powerful allies, science, and photography, which have emerged hand in hand during the last two centuries as key tools for deciphering the natural world around us.
“This image reveals the beauty of nature hidden in Tambopata, a region that is currently threatened by gold mining. It is paradoxical to see the eyes of this frog as small golden pearls because, in reality, the true treasure lies in ensuring the protection of this area and its inhabitants.”
Photographer Peter Hudson took second place in the competition for his incredible look at wildlife in action. His dramatic photo, taken in Kenya, shows steenbok attempting to flee from a leopard. While we can't know what happens next, the leopard's determined look tells us that, most likely, it will be successful in capturing its prey.
International ecologists and students were rewarded for their stunning visuals across six categories that demonstrate everything from how people interact with nature to ecology in action. This year's Capturing Ecology Photography Competition, which is sponsored by Dryad, has a virtual exhibition with all the winning and highly commended photos. It can be accessed freely by anyone on the British Ecological Society's website.
The winners of the 2022 British Ecological Society Capturing Ecology photography competition celebrate the diversity of ecology.
“Leopard Surprise!” by Peter Hudson. Runner-up. Location: Masai Mara, Kenya “Frozen in time, this image captures a Steenbok’s last futile attempt not to become prey, while a mother Leopard is determined to feed her cub.”
“Wild pearls” by Javier Lobon-Rovira. Winner, Up Close & Personal. Location: Portugal “A gold-striped salamander is nestled amongst a jumble of eggs, easily mistakable for a collection of pearls.”
“Calling out into darkness” by Sam J. England. Highly Commended, Individuals & Populations. Location: Sarapiqui, Costa Rica “Clinging to a thin branch, the red-eyed tree frog calls out for a mate illuminated in vivid shades of red, blue and green against the dark black cover of night.”
“A new Plastic Home” by Andreas Eich. Winner, People & Nature. Location: Pulau Bangka, Indonesia “A terrestrial hermit crab with its new home, a faded plastic bottle cap, explores a postcard perfect idyllic beach scene.”
“Studying the most trafficked animal in the world” by Ruth Smith. Student Winner, Ecology in Action. Location: Gabon, Africa “PhD student Ruth Smith crouches beside a 42kg male giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), the largest on record, after taking tissue samples and fitting a GPS device to relay the animals location.”
“Invasive battle – fire fierce” by Javier Lobon-Rovira. Winner, Dynamic Ecosystems. Location: Florida, USA “Two invasive species cross paths as an army of fire ants consume a house gecko.”
“Bubble bath” by Alwin Hardenbol. Winner, The Art of Ecology. Location: Tampere, Finland “A Horned Grebe calmly floats as the rising sunlight reflects off the waters surface.”
“Danger Spawning” by Emma Weschke. Student Winner, Dynamic Ecosystems. Location: Fakarava, French Polynesia “Below the waters surface, thousands of black and white striped Convict Tangs congregate unaware as a grey reef shark lurks in the background.”
“Takeout” by Sam Eberhard. Student Winner. Location: Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA “A single moment captured of the chaos of a bald eagle, and its prey, attempted to avoid the western gulls circling above.”
“Tourists in the wild” by Mackenzie Meier. Student Winner, People & Nature. Location: Hawaii “A turtle swims over a shallow reef while a group of tourists gather behind with their cameras at the ready.”
“Morning dew” by Francesca Martelli. Student Winner, Up Close & Personal. Location: Cogne, Italy “A Damon Blue butterfly (Polyommatus damon) – a common late summer species in mountainous regions of Europe – is covered by dew drops at dawn, patiently waiting to be warmed by the day's first sunlight.”
“The Shrike strikes again!” by Jennifer Holguin. Student Winner, Individuals & Populations. Location: Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA “This Round-tailed Horn Lizard is left forever with its mouth agape, impaled by the long green beak of a Loggerhead Shrike.”
“Bruma” by Roberto Garcia Roa. Winner, Ecology in Action. Location: Valencia, Spain “A female Bonelli's eagle, “Bruma”, lays dead in the dirt after being electrocuted by powerlines looming in the distance.”
“Diwali in the forest” by Naitik Patel. Student Winner, The Art of Ecology. Location: Kaziranga, Assam, India “The glowing green lights of a swarm of fireflies created shines bright against the deep green grass of the forest floor.”
“Night Guardian” by Javier Lobon-Rovira. Winner, Individuals & Populations. Location: Veragua Rainforest, Costa Rica “Expertly camouflaged, a smooth helmeted iguana blends into the mossy tree trunk it clings to.”