Stunning Photos Reveal The Secret Lives Of Sea Creatures
From the land, the ocean may seem mostly lifeless, but look under the surface and you'll find up to 80 percent of life on Earth. Now, thanks to a recent photography contest, you can catch a stunning glimpse of this hidden world.
This month, the U.K.-based Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest announced its 2016 winners, representing shutterbugs from over 50 different countries.
Three Pillars - Practice, Patience & Luck!Pier Mane/UPY 2016
While the overall title ended up going to Italian photographer Davide Lopresti for his shot of a spiny seahorse titled "Gold," each of the finalists' photos serves as a surprisingly intimate tribute to the creatures living in our seas.
GoldDavide Lopresti/UPY 2016
"It was astounding and humbling seeing the quality," said contest judge Alex Mustard in a statement. "Every single image that placed is an amazing moment from the underwater world."
Millions of CrabsRui Guerra/UPY 2016
According to Lopresti, he took his award-winning shot to celebrate seahorses living in now-protected parts of the Mediterranean once ravaged by destructive fishing methods.
The Majestic Purple DamePier Mane
"Over the years the Mediterranean's population of seahorses has drastically reduced. Their numbers have only recovered thanks to public awareness and a significant restocking campaign," wrote Lopresti in a statement. "This has allowed vulnerable and delicate creatures, like seahorses, to return."
LagoonGreg Lecoeur/UPY 2016
Check out more of the winning photographs below or click here to learn how you can help protect these magnificent creatures.
Pilot WhalesGreg Lecoeur
Planktonic PredatorGeorge Stoyle
Hello Give Us a KissSara Bowring