The winners of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 have been announced, and they include some of the most amazing and alien-like aquatic species that Earth’s oceans have to offer. The outstanding gallery of photos captures the lived experience of fish and explorers alike, bringing together marine animals and habitats from around the world, as well as analyzing our impact on them. Between September 10 and 16, the winners were revealed in a series of videos on the Ocean Photography Awards Instagram account, with the final announcement taking place in London.
From September 17 to October 17, the pictures will be on display in a free outdoor public exhibition on the River Thames’ Queen’s Walk near Tower Bridge. For the above shot of a green sea turtle surrounded by a school of glass fish, photographer Aimee Jan was selected Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021. The photo was taken on Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, which is an important breeding habitat for these endangered turtles.
Jan told IFLScience, “I was out snorkeling when one of my colleagues told me there was a turtle under a ledge in a school of glass fish around 10 meters down.” “When I went down to investigate, the fish had perfectly divided themselves around the turtle.” I think I just took the best photo I’ve ever taken,” I told her.
Henley Spiers was won second place for his photograph of gannets diving at breakneck speed in pursuit of mackerel in the Shetland Islands, UK, Gannets have developed to have very adapted necks that, according to research, would not be injured until they dived at speeds of up to 80 meters (262.5 ft) per second. Any other vertebrate species should not do this at home. “I observe the violent synchronisation of these remarkable seabirds as they launch on fishing dives while diving in among the barrage of gannets,” Spiers added.
Matty Smith took third place for capturing a turtle hatchling’s initial moments as it made its way into the ocean for the first time. It’s been a mystery where turtles spend their “lost years” before returning to beaches to lay their eggs as adults, but new research suggests that the Sargasso Sea could be an important nursery site for young turtles.