In Depth

ICYMARE Photo Competition Winners

The International Conference for YOUNG Marine Researchers (ICYMARE) is a bottom-up initiative completely organized by volunteers and offers a powerful and inspiring international set-up for an excellent network opportunity and some first conference experience in your early career.

In July 2021, ICYMARE called for the submission of iconic photos of young marine researchers and early career ocean professionals to the ICYMARE Photo Competition.

Congratulations to the newly announced winners:

ICYMARE Photo Grant Place 1 (1000 €): Baby clowns doo doo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Morgan 27 years, male, United States 

Image Details

Location: Saudi Arabian Red Sea Creation date: February 25, 2019 

Description: When studying the reproduction of clownfishes in situ, sometimes it helps to get up close and personal! 

Author Biography: I'm Morgan, a marine scientist primarily focused on clownfish and anemones! I finished my master's from KAUST in Saudi Arabia last year. 

ICYMARE Photo Grant Place 2 (750 €): Coral-reef Research 

ICYMARE Photo2By Tom Shlesinger 38 years, male, Israel, based in United States

Image Details

Location: Ambitle Island Country: Papua New Guinea Creation date: June 3, 2018

Description: In Papua New Guinea, volcanic carbon dioxide fizzles from the seafloor alongside diverse and healthy coral reefs. These volcanic seeps add heated water with high concentrations of carbon dioxide that results in temperature and acidity levels similar to those predicted by climate change models at the end of the century. Despite the acidity levels that are commonly regarded as too extreme for corals to build their calcareous skeletons, the reefs in this area are thriving, and hosting highly diverse communities of all marine animals. During a research expedition to Ambitle Island, in the east of Papua New Guinea, I took this photo of the CARIOCA project (Coral reef acclimatization to ocean acidification) team. In this photo, the team is performing experiments in the sea while on the surface a small boat is waiting to pick them up back to the research vessel.

Author Biography: Since I can remember, I was attracted to the sea and its mysteries. I grew up on the shores of the Red Sea, in Israel, where I did my first dive in 1988 at the age of six. Since then, I have been fascinated with the diversity of life forms in the sea and their intriguing behavior, colors, shapes, and patterns. Today, I am a marine ecologist (PhD), underwater photographer, and a naturalist. Most of my photographic and scientific journeys are intertwined. I focus on discovering unique moments of rare or unknown behavioral and reproductive phenomena of coral reef dwellers. In most parts of my work, I bring into the spotlight the backbone of the underwater tropical world: stony corals. They are the engineers, architects, and the artists that build and maintain the complex reef structures and breathe life into them. In my photography, I try to tell some of their stories and expose their incredible beauty while raising awareness to the threats they are facing. My images have been published in books, magazines, scientific journals; exhibited in galleries and museums, and won or highly commended in several photography competitions.

ICYMARE Photo Grant Place 3 (500 €): Catch and "Release"

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         By Project Manaia (Manuel), 38 years, male, Austria

Image Details

Location: Rogoznica Country: Croatia Creation date: June 29, 2021

Description: One of the major concerns for the marine ecosystems around the world is the incredible creativity in destruction when it comes to fisheries methods. By the very nature of its design, a net will catch anything and not be picky about it. Every time we take transects near a fishing harbor we come across not only tons of garbage, discarded nets, and destruction but also a trail of unwanted bycatch. Catfish are just one part of this, as they are not popular in the Mediterranean cuisine but often end up in bottom trawls. But many other species share the same fate. This morning in Rogoznica we counted 7 sharks, 3 rays and hundreds of Echinoderms amongst the victims of the day. With Project Manaia, we run workshops with fishers to educate them about the impact they are creating on the environment and ways they can support restoration efforts in their area.

Author Biography: Manuel is a sea-going Ocean lover and Marine Biologist, running a small-scale Marine Research NGO, that organizes expeditions in the Mediterranean Sea. With Project Manaia, he laid the groundwork for (till now) 3 Marine Protected areas, collects data on invasive species and seagrass distributions in our Mediterranean. With more than 20 years of experience in the field (and on the high seas), he did come across many of the good, bad, and ugly sides of the research, witnessing our oceans' devastation first-hand and trying his very best to come up with working solutions. For this, the Mediterranean is the perfect testing ground - and his current home of Choice. Onboard the SY Independence, he crosses the Mediterranean on an annual basis, documenting changes in the Ecosystems and the community compositions. And of course, working with different NGOs, Dive Centers, and other ocean lovers to find a working solution to prevent further negative impacts.

ICYMARE Photo Grant Place 4a (400 €): The Tide is High

ICYMARE Photo Grant 4a Tim 401 The Tide is HighBy Timothy 30 years, Australia, based in New Zealand

Image Details

Location: Whangamata Estuary Country: New Zealand Creation date: March 11, 2021

Description: Fieldwork in mangroves is often done at low tide, when it is more accessible by foot. In order to capture processes that occur during high tide it can be a requirement to wade or even swim through the dense forest as this researcher is doing. He is setting up incubation chambers that will measure primary production and dissolved carbon and nutrient exchange from the sediment to the water column. It is important to avoid resuspending the fine sediment which would make it impossible to see and would block light from entering the chambers. To achieve this, most work needs to be done floating.

Author Biography: Contrary to common belief, Germany has some coastline - that is where I grew up. Anything we did for fun was connected to the sea, which is where my love for it arose. It was a logical step to pursue a degree in marine science.
Bremen University was the first stop, where I completed my BSc in Biology. Leading on from there I completed my MSc in Marine Science in Saudi Arabia on the shores of the Red Sea, and have now started my PhD in New Zealand’s University of Waikato. Throughout my education, the fieldwork aspect always appealed to me and I tried to gather as much experience and practice as I could. From working on research vessels, smaller boats to diving, and intertidal research mainly on foot. I loved doing it all, but what stuck most (like the mud to my boots) was the work in intertidal vegetated habitats. My research interest lies in the biogeochemical cycling in estuaries, particularly in mangrove forest, and the key role that microorganisms play a role in facilitating these. That has led me to do an enrichment experiment in the mangroves of New Zealand, to investigate how important nutrient cycles change with increasing nutrient and sediment inputs.

ICYMARE Photo Grant Place 4b (400 €): Underwater Gardening 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy María Salinas 34 years, female, Spain

Image Details

Location: Gili Trawangan Country: Indonesia Creation date: November 21, 2019

Description: Biorock structures are used in different areas to help restore coral reefs. This technology helps corals grow faster by using electric current to precipitate minerals and form limestone. Biorock structures have been used in places where coral reefs have been particularly damaged and where environmental conditions make it difficult for corals to grow normally. Taking care of Biorock structures involves a lot of work and we spent hours getting rid of weeds or sponges, like underwater gardeners taking care of our coral patch. In Gili Trawangan they have used Biorock to restore the very damaged coastal reef and some local businesses help economically with the project.

Author Biography: I grew up in a small landlocked town close to Madrid. Since I can remember I have loved nature. On family trips I got to spend time by the sea, where I could be snorkeling for hours or exploring the tide pools. I studied Biology in Madrid, but just after getting my degree I decided I needed adventure, so I left Spain and went to see the world. I started scuba diving while traveling in Thailand and that was it: I changed my life so I could spend it by the ocean. This is how I became a scuba diving instructor and moved from one coastal town to the next in different countries to experience the underwater world. I have mainly worked in tourism, trying to raise awareness towards ocean conservation. I have also taken part in conservation projects in different parts of the world and did my own coral reef clean-ups during the pandemic. For the past year and a half, I have lived in Baja California, Mexico, where I can go on many underwater adventures. I was lucky enough to work on the Revillagigedo Archipelago, a place that I had dreamed about for many years. I know now that I won´t leave the seaside, I feel like a fish out of the water when I leave it for too long. I recently bought an underwater camera to capture my experiences and show them to the world. I want to continue my scientific education to get more involved in conservation and help to protect my home.

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