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Wildlife Photo Essays / Galleries

Understanding Animals and Wildlife Through Images


Wildlife photography enables us to see a wide range of animals and wildlife from around the world. The galleries listed below contain photographs taken by scientists and amateurs alike, and they illustrate the beauty, complexity, and diversity of the animal kingdom.

Photo Monitoring Ningaloo's Whale Sharks

Photo © Kurt Amsler / Rolex Awards.
Whale sharks are anything but camera shy. Between 1995 and 2006, scientists, tourists, divers, and tour guides snapped more than 5100 underwater photographs of these gentle giants at Ningaloo Marine Park, off the coast of Western Australia. The photographs weren't random portraits of fish. They were all captured as part of a long-term survey of the region's whale sharks. While swimming astride the left side of a shark, photographers carefully aimed their viewfinders at the patch of skin behind the shark's gill slits, just above the pectoral fin.

2009 Underwater Photo Contest Winners

Photo © Marchione Giacomo.
The University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has announced the winners of its Fifth Annual Underwater Photography Competition. The competition is open to amateur photographers and this year there were 918 photo submissions from entrants in 23 countries. The 2009 awards were given for the best overall photograph as well as three prizes in each of the following photographic categories: wide-angle, macro, and fish or marine animal portrait. Additionally, there was a category highlighting the work of student photographers.

Ten New Species of Amphibians Discovered in Columbia

Photo © Marco Rada / Conservation Internal.
Ten new amphibian species have been discovered in Colombia's Tacarcuna region, a mountainous region that lies near the border of Panama. The discovery was made by a team of herpetologists from Conservation International, Colombia and ornithologists from the Ecotrópico Foundation. Their expedition was centered in Darien, a mountainous band of high and lowland rainforest that runs along the border of Columbia and Panama.

The Mystery of North America's Black Wolves

Photo © Monty Sloan / Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Indiana.
Despite their common name, gray wolves (Canis lupus) are a colorful bunch of canines. Their coat color can range from white to gray to black and is regulated by a complex set of genetic factors. Of all the wolves' color variations, the black individuals are the most intriguing. Black wolves are so colored due to a genetic mutation at the K locus gene. This mutation causes a condition known as melanism, an increased presence of dark pigmentation.

Navigating the High Seas - A Magnetic Theory

Photo © Courtney Endres / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Sea turtles and salmon possess an astonishing ability to migrate vast distances from their birthplace and, years later, return to their home territory to reproduce. This navigational feat, known as natal homing, has baffled scientists for many decades. Just how do these animals remember the location of their birthplace with such precision? A research team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill thinks they may have the answer to that question.

Rival Eland Antelopes Find Alternatives to Fighting

Photo © Jakob Bro-Jørgensen / Cambridge University.
Eland antelopes (Tragelaphus oryx) are the largest antelopes in the world but their considerable size doesn't mean they're eager to throw their weight around. It turns out, eland antelopes have developed elaborate means to avoid fights and in doing so, they avoid costly injury associated with physical conflict. When settling disputes, male elands send out a set of signals that accurately reflect their size, age, and aggressiveness to other males—these signals serve to advertise the fighting ability of each male.

New Reserve Safe Haven for Blue-throated Macaws

Photo © Joe Tobias / Armonia.
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is a critically endangered bird that inhabits the savannas in the Beni province of Bolivia. This rare macaw faces a variety of threats, the most serious of which include habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. Now, their valuable habitat is to be protected in the hope that the species will find a safe sanctuary in which to breed. The Asociacion Armonia, a Bolivian conservation organization, has joined forces with the American Bird Conservancy and World Land Trust to create the Barba Azul Nature Reserve.

New Reefs Discovered in Brazil's Abrolhos Bank

Photo © RB Francini-Filho / Conservation International.
Scientists working off the coast of Bahia state in Brazil have discovered a vast region of previously unknown coral reefs. Surprisingly, the newly discovered reefs are not located in remote waters. Instead, they are nestled up against the South Atlantic's largest known coral reef system: the Abrolhos reef system. Despite their proximity to the well-known Abrolhos reefs, the newly discovered reefs are concealed in deeper waters and are therefore quite inaccessible. Scientists relied on side scan sonar (a type of sonar frequently used to create nautical charts) to construct a map of the newfound reefs.

Hundreds of New Species Found in Australian Reefs

Photo © Gary Cranitch / Queensland Museum.
Over three hundred species of soft corals have been recorded by scientists studying the species diversity of coral reefs at various locations off Australia's coasts. As many as half of the soft corals found by the researchers are believed to be species not previously known to science. The research was conducted as part of the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems (or CReefs) program, a global research project aimed at collecting species diversity data for coral reefs around the world. The scientific team made three expeditions to different coral reefs in the coastal waters of Australia.

New Species Discovered in Brazil's Cerrado Savanna

Photo © Paula H. Valdujo / USP Universidade de Sao Paulo, Pequi.
Scientists have discovered 14 new animal species in Brazil's Cerrado, a vast woodland-savanna ecoregion that stretches across more than 2 million square kilometers of the country's central plateau. The new species include eight fish, three reptiles, one mammal, one bird, and one amphibian. These new species add to a rich assortment of flora and fauna previously known to inhabit the region, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.
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