Australia’s Best Ecology Photos of 2015 Revealed


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



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

Christian Spencer

Strezlecki Desert

Canon t4i


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.




James Dorey

Brisbane, QLD

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

Thomas Hunt

Chowilla, South Australia

Canon 600D


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.



Sunset fishing

Krystle Keller

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.



Wraparound (spider)

Alan Kwok

Bensville, NSW

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

Peter Yeeles

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.



Red-capped Robin

Thomas Hunt

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.