In association with the British Ecological Society, BiOME Ecology are proud to feature the winners of the BES annual photography competition ‘Capturing Ecology’. 

London, 1 December 2017. 
The British Ecological Society (BES) has revealed the winners of its annual photography competition ‘Capturing Ecology’. Taken by international ecologists and students, the images entered into the competition celebrate various aspects of ecology.

Featuring a variety of flora and fauna from around the world, subjects range from predators capturing and devouring their prey, artistic takes on woodlands to meerkat science in action.

The overall winner is Christopher Beirne, from the University of Exeter and Crees Foundation, with his image of an ocelot taking advantage of human-made nature trails to stalk its prey in Peru.

“The photograph was taken in an area of land, which was completely cleared for agriculture 30-50 years ago. Documenting the wildlife that has returned as the forest has recovered was not only a real privilege, it has also changed my perspective on the value of degraded land in tropical areas”, Beirne said.

Dr Hazel Norman, Executive Director at the British Ecological Society, commented: “Christopher’s image is a spectacular entry. He managed to capture an incredibly elusive and skittish wild cat which is primarily active during the night.

“Our judges had a difficult task to choose from many impressive entries this year. Some of the images demonstrated interactions between different species in their natural environment, which can be complex and difficult to capture. We congratulate all winners and thank all the participants for their submissions“, Dr Norman added.

The winning images will be exhibited at ‘Ecology across Borders’, the Society’s joint annual meeting in December, which will bring together 1,500 ecologists from around 60 countries to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.

The independent judging panel included five eminent ecologists and award-winning wildlife photographers.

Full list of winners:

Overall winner: Christopher Beirne, University of Exeter and Crees Foundation, On the trail, ocelot during the night in Peru

On the trail

A male ocelot, Leopardus pardalis, using a human-made trail at the Manu Learning Centre, Peru. Although we often think of trails through tropical rainforests as having negative impacts on local wildlife, several cats species (including the ocelot and its larger cousins pumas and jaguars) often use these trails to rapidly move around their home ranges.

Overall runner-up: Mark Tatchell, Toco toucan looking back

Toco toucan looking back

Overall student winner: Leejiah Dorward, University of Oxford, I see you, flap-necked chameleon in Tanzania

I see you

Category 1 – Up close and personal
An image displaying the intricacy of nature using close-up or macro photography.

Winner: Roberto García Roa, University of Valencia, White silk, Anolis lizard changing skin

White silk

Student winner: Karen O’Neill, KerryLIFE and University of Dundee, Canopy bubble, showing the reflection of trees in water

O’Neill’s research relates in part to the relationship between forests and water quality. She chose this picture as the reflection of the trees encapsulates how the ecology of the land and water is deeply interconnected.

Category 2 – Dynamic ecosystems
Demonstrating interactions between different species within an ecosystem.

Winner: Zoe Davies, University of Kent, Salmon run, a brown bear catching sockeye salmon in Alaska

Student winner: Leejiah Dorward, University of Oxford, Venomous vine, a savanna vine snake struggles with a speckle fronted weaver in Tanzania

Venomous vine

Category 3 – Individuals and populations
A unique look at a species in its environment, either alone or as part of a population.

Winner: Nilanjan Chatterjee, Wildlife Institute of India, Crossing the line, a tiger with her cub

Crossing the line

Student winner: Leejiah Dorward, University of Oxford, Shivering sylph, a long tailed sylph shakes of rain drops after a tropical shower in Colombia

Shivering sylph

Category 4 – Ecology and society
A look at how people and society engage with wildlife and their environment

Winner: Leejiah Dorward, University of Oxford, Home sweet home, a nycterid bat triggers a camera trap

Home sweet home

Student winner: Adam Rees, Plymouth University, Female leatherback turtle gets into trouble

Rees and his colleagues received a call at sunrise from the local Gabonese Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN) officers telling them a female leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) had got herself into trouble overnight. She was late in the season and desperate to lay her clutch on her home beach at Point Denis, which overlooks Gabons capital Libreville, however after she had hauled herself onto the sand she carried on inland somewhat confused. Soon realising her mistake she decided to return to the water, however photosenstive Leatherback turtles rely on the lunar cues for their navigation and the newly developed lights of Point Denis against the backdrop of a bustling Libreville overpower the night sky and so many adult turtles are drawn towards the dangerous city rather than back out into the ocean. They found this leatherback over 500m inland, blisters on her flippers and severely dehydrated, still heading the wrong way. With the help of over 10 people and a large rope they turned her around and dragged her back to the water. Here she is rehydrated with the help of a park ranger before finally returning back to where she had started from. It was a pleasure to send her off.

Category 5 – Ecology in action
Showcasing the practice of ecology in action

Winner: Dominic Cram, University of Cambridge, Meerkat morning weights

Dominic Cram

Student winner: Nick Harvey, University of Manchester and Chester Zoo, A sedated giant, white rhino in South Africa

Photo taken after a male southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) had been sedated. This rhino was being moved from Umphafa Private Nature Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to another reserve to prevent inbreeding. The game capture company had sedated the rhino from the helicopter and they were running over to blindfold the animal to help calm it down. A chip was implanted into the horn before he was woken up a little so that he could get onto his feet and into his travelling crate.

Category 6 – The art of ecology
A creative and original take on photography denoting ecology

Winner: Jesamine Bartlett, University of Birmingham and British Antarctic Survey, Divided, a crack in a Swedish lake stretches the entire width of the lake, dividing the white ice with a deep black scar

A crack in Tjornap lake in Southern Sweden stretched the entire width of the lake, dividing the white ice with a deep black scar all the way to the forested bank. The bank and vegetation divides the picture further: a band of molinia grass and then the bright horizontal stripes of the birch bark (Betula pendula)before the dark canopy of the forest hits the pale sky.

Student winner: Sanne Govaert, Ghent University, The jar effect, a butterfly in a used transparent container

The jar effect