A starkly contrasting image of a single adult king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) surrounded by a crowd of fluff-feathered chicks has won the hearts of those judging this year’s British Ecological Society (BES) annual photography competition.
Chris Oosthuizen captured his winning image while conducting research on seals and killer whales on the remote Marion Island in the sub-Antarctic.
“Although the global population of king penguins is large, populations inhabiting islands around the Antarctic face an uncertain future. Global climate change may shift the oceanic fronts where they feed further away from breeding sites, forcing penguins to travel farther to reach their foraging grounds,” said Oosthuizen in a statement emailed to IFLScience.
Founded in 1931, BES is the world’s oldest ecological society dedicated to the promotion of the study of ecology through supporting academic journals, events, grants, education initiatives, and policy work with its 6,000 active members from more than 120 different countries. Images submitted to the competition were taken by international ecologists and students, capturing the incredible flora and fauna seen through hundreds of lenses around the world.
“Some images have the power to say much more than words, and Chris’s image, which showcases the remarkable colony life of an iconic bird species, raises awareness of their uncertain future due to climate change,” said the President of the British Ecological Society, Richard Bardgett.
The overall winner in the student category goes to Adrià López Baucells, who used a motion sensor and four flashes synchronized with the camera to capture – for the first time – a fringe-lipped bat sneaking up on a tiny yellow frog belonging to the genus Scinax.
While the winners will receive a few hundred pounds, camera gear, and a few other perks, the general public can view the images at this year’s annual conference in Birmingham next month or at a free public exhibition in London in January.
Or, you know, check them out here.
Overall winner: Chris Oosthuizen, University of Pretoria, Stand out from the crowd featuring an adult king penguin amongst chicks. (This photo also won Category Two, Dynamic Ecosystems).
Overall student winner: Adrià López Baucells, University of Lisbon, Shadows in the sky, capturing a fringe-lipped bat sneaking up on a little yellow frog.
Category One, Up Close and Personal: Roberto García-Roa, University of Valencia, Web of life, showing a spider in Spain.
Category Three, Individuals and Populations: Adrià López Baucells, University of Lisbon, Flying in the rain, featuring a Seba's short-tailed bat in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
Category Four, People and Nature: Nibedita Mukherjee, University of Exeter, Man in mangrove, showing Kerala in India.
Category Five, Ecology in Action: Dominik Behr, from the University of Zurich and Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, with The tables have turned, an image of a wild dog pup playing with a tranquilizer dart.
Category Six, The Art of Ecology: Mark Tatchell, retired ecologist, Marine iguanas warm up, taken in the Galapagos Islands.