Australia’s best photos of native plants, animals, landscapes and the scientists who work on them were revealed as a highlight of the major national ecological conference this week.
Adelaide photographer Thomas Hunt took out the award for best portfolio, and Christian Spencer from Victoria won best image.
"The winning images have come from all over Australia, from the arid centre to the suburbs of our cities. Each photo tells a story of not only the landscapes and species but also of the Australian scientists whose life work it is to understand their mysteries," said competition organiser and judge Dr Liz Tasker.
More than 600 scientists from around Australia and overseas are in Adelaide for the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia.
"The winners receive cash prizes. In return, the Ecological Society can use the images to help share the wonder of Australia's natural heritage with a broad audience, in a way that is more accessible than a scientific paper," said Dr Tasker.
The competition is open to the public and is held annually. For full details of the photo competition and the conference, see www.ecolsoc.org.au.
Dr Liz Tasker
Overall winning image: A tree dreaming by Christian Spencer
First Prize, Landscapes: Eclipsed by James Dorey
Second Prize, Landscapes: Mist on Monoman Creek by Thomas Hunt
First Prize, Ecologists in Action: Sunset Fishing by Krystle Keller
Highly Commended, Biodiversity: Wraparound (Spider) by Alan Kwok
Highly Commended, Biodiversity: Ants tending bugs, by Peter Yeeles
Highly Commended, Biodiversity: Red-capped Robin by Thomas Hunt
Full Image Details
A tree dreaming
In the Strezlecki Desert of Australia a flock of galahs replenish on the only small water available at the base of this lonely tree. It's a rare photo opportunity to get such a clear and symmetrical shot of these beautiful birds in flight in the middle of the desert.
Canon Eos 60D
Mangroves provide vital ecosystem services, such as water purification, erosion control and coastal protection. Their importance has been largely eclipsed by our ‘need’ to live where they live. Cities, ports and aquaculture have all encroached into the mangrove’s habitat. This mangrove is one of many in a thin line fronting a coastal development. But how functional can this ecosystem be?
Mist on Monoman Creek
Chowilla, South Australia
On this autumn morning bird survey, the sun defied icy temperatures to break through the mist shrouding the Red Gum woodlands lining Momonan Creek. The dawn chorus of birdsong filled the air, making every labour to reach this tranquil moment worthwhile.
Smiths lake, NSW
Canon PowerShot S95
Students sample fish using a seine net in Smiths Lake to determine the fish abundance at different times of the day and habitat preference for a marine ecology field trip.
Canon 1DX + Tamron 90mm
In full light many people struggle to appreciate spiders. Silhouettes focus on shapes, and allow a different insight perspective. Wraparound spiders have tall, knobby protrusions on their abdomens, which help them camouflage when resting on branches. The protrusions can vary within a single species.
Iridomyrmex tending bugs
Brookton, Western Australia
Canon EOS 6D
Native Iridomyrmex tend psillid bugs on a York Gum in southwestern Australia. The bugs produce waxy exudates to create a protective shelter known as a lerp.
Lowan Conservation Park, South Australia
Canon 7D Mark II
A male Red-capped Robin, resplendent in his black, white and vermillion plumage. His cheery, insect-like trill carries far for such a small bird, and is a sound that distinctly characterises the dry wooded areas of Australia's vast interior.