Stunning jackfish spiral in the Great Barrier Reef wins annual photo competition

The 2021 BMC Ecology and Evolution image competition was full of incredible shots.

Steph Panecasio Former Editor
Steph Panecasio was an Editor based in Sydney, Australia. She knows a lot about the intersection of death, technology and culture. She's a fantasy geek who covers science, digital trends, video games, subcultures and more. Outside work, you'll most likely find her rewatching Lord of the Rings or listening to D&D podcasts.
Steph Panecasio
2 min read

The overall winner and best image for conservation biology.

Kristen Brown

If you're feeling anxious about the state of nature and the climate following the IPCC report this week, hopefully these images from the 2021 BMC Ecology and Evolution image competition will give some respite and remind you of what we're trying to recover. 

Published in the BMC Ecology and Evolution journal, the competition seeks to celebrate Earth's biodiversity and highlight the importance of preservation. Categories include Conservation Biology, Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Biodiversity, Behavioral Ecology, Human Evolution and Ecology, Ecological Developmental Biology, and Population Ecology. And the photos showcase everything from marine life through to a termite.

The overall winner, a gorgeous spiral of jackfish from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, was shot by Kristen Brown of the University of Pennsylvania. She said the shot represented, "both the beauty and bounty of our oceans as well as the spiralling crisis unfolding within the marine environment."

"Coral reefs with high coral cover and plentiful fish populations like this one at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef are sadly becoming rarer," she said. "Without a concentrated effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality, coral reefs as we know them are at risk of disappearing within our lifetime."

"Our section editors used their expertise to ensure the winning images were picked as much for the scientific stories behind them as for the technical quality and beauty of the images themselves," Jennifer Harman, editor of the journal, said of the competition. "As such, the competition very much reflects BMC's ethos of innovation, curiosity and integrity."

Check out some of the other winners below.


Overall runner up and winner of Best Image for Evolutionary Development Biology and Biodiversity. 
Eulimnogammarus verrucosus crustacean suffering from a parasitic ciliate infection.

Kseniya Vereshchagina.

Winner in the Ecological Development Biology category.
Featuring a zebrafish which quickly regrew its tail after being clipped at the horizontal line.

Chey Chapman

Winner of the Behavioral Ecology category.
Featuring a wasp attacking a spider in Ecuador.

Roberto García-Roa

Best image for Human Evolution and Ecology.
A researcher uses a baboon to study human locomotion and its evolution.

Roberto García-Roa

Winner of best image for Population Ecology. 
Featuring the migration of a termite soldier population.

Roberto García-Roa

Winner of Editor's Pick.
Featuring a giant gladiator frog narrowly escaping from a snake.

Dimitri Ouboter