The Winners Of The Underwater Photography Awards 2020 Have Been Revealed


Madison Dapcevich


Madison Dapcevich

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

Madison is a freelance science reporter and full-time fact-checker based in the wild Rocky Mountains of western Montana.

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

Italian photographer Pasqual Evassallo wins the Marine Conservation category with this image of a trapped tuna taken in the Tyrrhenian Sea. © Pasqual Evassallo/UPY2020

From the depths of the ocean to the knee-deep waters of Mangrove forests, the winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 showcase the planet’s aquatic world in all of its glory.

This year’s Underwater Photographer of the Year is French photographer Greg Lecoeur for his image "Frozen Mobile Home". Taken during an expedition to the Antarctica Peninsula the image explores the “hidden face” of icebergs and their crabeater seal inhabitants in an “ethereal landscape”


“Massive and mysterious habitats, icebergs are dynamic kingdoms that support marine life,” said Lecoeur in a statement sent to IFLScience, but “little is known about how wildlife thrives around these mobile homes."

Judge Peter Rowlands described it as: "A deserved and unanimous winner which combines photographic beauty, composition, exquisite light, and delicate colours. Perfect poses from the seals make this a celebration of natural life and a most enduring image."

The winning image, 'Frozen Mobile Home'. © Greg Lecoeur/UPY2020

Other images captured from around the world highlight conservation issues in some of the farthest-reaching corners of the planet, from net-entangled marine life to seabirds nesting out of nets, plastics, and other man-made materials.

Up and Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020

'Lemon shark pups in mangrove nursery' © Anita Kainrath/UPY2020

Anita Kainrath was named the Up and Coming Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 for her charismatic image of a lemon shark nursery in the Bahamas. Lemon shark pups spend the first five to eight years of their lives in mangroves, an essential habitat that remains largely unprotected.


Most Promising British Underwater Photographer 2020

'Commotion in the Ocean'. © Nur Tucker/UPY2020

Nur Tucker captured this image of a thorny seahorse in the Philippines using a variety of photography techniques and merging the double-exposure shot.

Highly Commended Photograph, Marine Conservation


© Shane Keena/UPY2020

A hermit crab with a discarded metal can for a shell was spotted by photographer Shane Keena on Peleliu Island in Micronesia.

“The unfortunate reality is that human impact is found everywhere... even on the tiniest and remote of islands amongst the smallest of critters,” said the photographer. “Sadly, this is not the first encounter I have seen on these islands where these hermit crabs use discards for shelters and have seen them using human discards ranging from plastic Keurig single-use coffee pods to old metal bolts.”

Highly Commended Photograph, Marine Conservation

© Simon Pierce/UPY2020

Gannets in Norway normally build their nests from seaweed and grass floating at the surface of the ocean near the island but are increasingly using discarded netting, ropes, and packaging straps from fishing waste. This photograph captured by Simon Pierce on Runde Island, seasonal home to over half a million seabirds including northern gannets, shows how pervasive human trash is in marine habitats. A recent survey found that 97 percent of nests contain some form of man-made debris.


Highly Commended Photograph, Marine Conservation

© Kim André Sund/UPY2020

During a wreck dive off the coast of Norway, underwater photographer Kim André Sund came across a net containing “a lot of dead fish and crabs,” as well as this entangled cormorant. Sund says that it is common for fishermen to place their nets on wrecks, which then become stuck. After the photograph received local media attention, Sund adds that the coast guard cleaned the net a few weeks later. 

Third Place, Marine Conservation 

© Scott Gutsy Tuason/UPY2020

Scott Tuason captured this image of a traditional turtle kill in the Kei Archipelago of Indonesia.


“I went to Kei to shoot leatherback turtles. On the first day out, our boat happened to witness the local villagers hunting this turtle with a harpoon. They speared it and battled with it for at least an hour. The weakened turtle was then brought near the boat, where it was bludgeoned over the head,” said the photographer.  

Local law permits the killing of the endangered turtles for subsistence, limiting hunters to one turtle per week.

Winner of Behavior Category

'Octopus training' © Pasqual Evassallo/UPY2020

Winner of Wrecks Category

Panoramic image of the engine room of the Chrisoula K. off of the coast of Egypt. © Tobias Friedrich/UPY2020

 Winner of Macro Category

A fish seen hiding out on a coral polyp. © Hannes Klostermann/UPY2020


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