From the team at BBC Wildlife Magazine

British Ecological Society photography competition 2019

The winning and highly commended images, on the theme of 'capturing ecology' have been announced, with subjects ranging from a birch forest to a three-toed sloth

Published: November 29, 2019 at 2:45 pm
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About the British Ecological Society

Established in 1913, the British Ecological society (BES) is the oldest ecological society in the world. The founding aim of the society was to "to promote and foster the study of Ecology in its widest sense", and this remains its central tenant to this day.


About the competition

Every year the society holds its 'Capturing Ecology: Photographic Competition', with the aim of celebrating and promoting the work of its membership and the discipline of ecology.

The prize for the overall winner is £750 and two film cameras, whilst the overall runner up wins £250 and the student winner £100.

A well as these prizes, there are winners and student winners for each of the six categories (Up Close and Personal, Dynamic Ecosystems, Individuals and Populations, People and Nature, Ecology in Action, and The Art of Ecology).

The winning images will be displayed at the society's annual conference next month in Belfast.

Overall Winner: Roberto García Roa, Red night

The overall winning image shows a Malagasy tree boa perched in a tree. © Roberto García Roa

The overall winner was this stunning portrait of a Malagasy tree boa, taken by by Roberto García Roa, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Valencia, Spain.

About his photograph Roberto said, “Unfortunately, many areas of Madagascar are suffering huge anthropic pressures including poaching and fires, and big snakes are becoming increasingly difficult to see. During my visit to Madagascar, I had the pleasure of finding this outstanding snake and photographing it. To offer a dramatic scenario reflecting the conditions that these snakes are suffering, I used an external red light as a source of light and severe blurring to capture the environment.”

Professor Richard Bardgett, President of the BES, commented: “This stunning image not only captures the beauty of the Malagasy tree boa, which is endemic to the island of Madagascar, but also its vulnerability, especially to hunting and fire. A remarkable image and deserving winner.”

Overall runner up: Mikhail Kapychka, Autumn texture

A birch forest in autumn. © Mikhail Kapychka

Overall student winner: Nilanjan Chatterjee, Flames in flumes

A plumbeous water redstart waits by the cascades to catch a mayfly or stonefly for a meal. © Nilanjan Chatterjee


Up Close and Personal

An image displaying the intricacy of nature using close-up or macro photography.

Winner: Roberto García Roa, Fluorescence

A small scorpion in Madagascar glows under UV light. The function of fluorescence is still unclear. © Roberto García Roa.

Student winner: Khristian V. Valencia, Harlequin

A harlequin frog exhibits one of its less common morphs in the shade of the leaves of the Chocó understory. © Khristian V. Valencia

Dynamic Ecosystems

Demonstrating interactions between different species within an ecosystem.

Winner: Roberto García Roa, Small Warrior

A small spider found in Malaysia captures a comparatively huge ant. © Roberto García Roa.

Student winner: Pablo Javier Merlo, Are you seeing the same as me?

A cow and a chimango contemplate together the breath-taking Beagle Channel in the southernmost mountains of the Andes. © Pablo Javier Merlo.

Individuals and Populations

A unique look at a species in its environment, either alone or as part of a population.

Winner: Felix Fornoff, Sleeping still

Leafcutter bee offspring in nests made from ovate leaf cuttings thoroughly arranged in multiple buffering layers by their mother bees. © Felix Fornoff

Student winner: Khristian V. Valencia, Watchful

A cloudy snake fixes its gaze on succulent prey. © Khristian V. Valencia.

People and Nature

An interesting and original take on the relationships between people and nature

Winner: Andrew Whitworth, Why did the sloth cross the road?

A female three-toed sloth crawls across the road. Luckily on this occasion the driver of the truck had spotted her in good time. © Andrew Whitworth

Student winner: Gergana Daskalova, Thawing away

A human silhouette is dwarfed by the size of a retrogressive thaw slump on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island in Canada. The shifts resulting from these slumps can echo through the whole ecosystem. This photo was taken on an expedition supported by the National Geographic Society. © Gergana Daskalova

Ecology in Action

Showcasing the practice of ecology in action


Winner: Molly Penny, The Rhino’s Annual Haircut

A rhino gets its horn trimmed. This is done annually to help protect it from poaching. © Molly Penny.

Student winner: Gergana Daskalova, Capturing tundra vegetation change

Drones are used to capture the bigger picture of how climate change is altering northern ecosystems. This photo was taken on an expedition supported by the National Geographic Society. © Gergana Daskalova.

The Art of Ecology

A creative and original take on photography denoting ecology

Winner: Peter Hudson, For the love of Flamingos

A flock of flamingos fly high over Lake Magadi in a heart shape. © Peter Hudson.

Student winner: Sanne Govaert, Teeny tiny world

This tiny mushroom, a Mycena spp., was growing inside a rotten tree trunk. Due to the microclimatic conditions inside the trunk, condensation had formed on the Mycena. © Sanne Govaert. 

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