Wow. Just wow. The EEB Honorary Photographer at Large Photo Contest is once again a treasure trove of eye-popping photographs that traipse the globe. The wide variety of images includes adorable and fierce mammals, colorful amphibians, fantastic reptiles, birds in multiple poses, majestic scenery, underwater scenes and creatures, fungi, insects and plants.
Three cheers to our new Honorary Photographer at Large, Jason Dobkowski, who came in first place with "Fox kit" taken on the North Slope of Alaska. Dobkowski is a master’s student and a research lab specialist in the lab of Professor George Kling. “A family of foxes made a den within the boulder piles near Imnavait Creek in Arctic Alaska,” said Dobkowski. “When collecting water samples, we were often visited by the curious fox kits. Some were more adventurous than others allowing me to get very close to them before scampering away. Our research at Imnavait Creek focuses on how water nutrients move through a hillslope catchment and through the stream.”
Second place goes to Alison Gould for "Coral killer” shot underwater off the shores of Okinawa, Japan. Gould is a Ph.D. student with her advisor, Professor Paul Dunlap. Gould was conducting dive research at her field sites in Okinawa when she snapped this photo. “Outbreaks of the ‘crown of thorns’ sea star are a severe threat to many coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific,” she said.
Marcella Baiz captured third place for “Burrowing owls” taken in Springs Wildlife State Park, Tallahassee, Fla. “I enjoy portrait style photography and in practice I like to apply this style to capture images of people as well as non-human (and sometimes non-living) subjects to capture their expressions and likeness, which creates a prevailing mood,” Baiz said. “I find birds to be particularly expressive, as traits in many groups were shaped by sexual selection to be extremely flashy. Owls, too, have unique traits shaped by selection that can aid in setting an image's mood. In my photograph, the large eyes of the burrowing owls (an adaptation to night-living) creates a feeling of wonder or awakening.” Baiz is a doctoral student with advisors Professor Priscilla Tucker and Dr. Liliana Cortés Ortiz.
Honorable mentions go to Cody Thompson for “DeSoto Marecage,” taken at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa. Thompson is the curator of mammals in the Museum of Zoology. Marcelo Sturaro shot “Tree frog (Hypsiboas geographicus)” in the Amazon Rainforest. Sturaro is a visiting research scholar in the lab of Professor Lacey Knowles. Anat Belasen took “Birds nest fungus” at the U-M Biological Station. She is a doctoral student in the lab of Professor Tim James. Isabella Oleksy photographed “Daphnia dentifera and Daphnia magna” in the lab of Professor Meghan Duffy, where she works as a research technician and lab manager.
Dobkowski receives the honorary title for the year of “Photographer at Large” in memory of David Bay who was the self-described “photographer at large” for EEB and its predecessor departments for 34 years. He touched the lives of hundreds of faculty, students and staff with his humor, good nature and expertise.
Kudos to the winning photographers and thank you to everyone who submitted a photo and/or voted in the contest. Twenty-one EEB shutterbugs submitted 61 stunning entries. Over 300 votes were cast (pick top five) by 65 people. There’s a whole year ahead to get creative behind your lenses for the photo contest when it returns next fall.
Watch for an LSA Today feature on EEB’s photo contest winners coming in February.