The BMC Ecology and Evolution image competition makes space to celebrate those ultra-close, ultra-detailed, or ultra-rare candids every year. Chosen by the editors of the journal BioMed Central Ecology and Evolution, the winners and runner-ups consist of scientists from all around the world. The 2022 submissions fell into four categories: research in action, life closeup, biodiversity under threat, and relationships in nature.
The overall winner (seen above) was taken in the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru by evolutionary biologist and expert photographer Roberto García-Roa. It depicts ”spores of the so-called ‘Zombie’ fungus (e.g. genera Ophiocordyceps) that infect arthropods by infiltrating their exoskeleton and minds,” says García-Roa in a description for the contest. ”As a result, parasitized hosts are compelled to migrate to a more favorable location for the fungus’s growth. Here, they await death, at which point the fungus feeds on its host to produce fruiting bodies full of spores that will be jettisoned to infect more victims—a conquest shaped by thousands of years of evolution.”
See PopSci‘s picks from the final lineup below, and check the journal’s website for information on the 2023 competition soon.