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BIUPC founder scoops top prize with novel composition from the river Test in Hampshire

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The British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) are once again pleased to announce results of The British and Irish Underwater Photography Championship (BIUPC) which was held on 26th August 2023.

For Underwater Photographers, a “splash-in” is a competition that takes place on a single nominated day, when photographers jump into the water to compete against each other. Traditionally, these competitions have been restricted to particular locations, but BIUPC is unique in that it has developed a format to allow pictures to be taken anywhere within the coastal or inland waterways of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. This has hugely increased the richness and variety of pictures submitted for judging, and so truly allows for a snapshot of the underwater environment captured photographically around these shores under time pressure.

There were two categories for competitors this year, mainly because of advances in camera technology:

  • Wide Angle
  • Close Up

Each category has one winner, and the overall Champion is chosen from those two images 2 images.  The ultimate prize is the coveted Peter Scoones memorial Trophy.

There is also a category for:

  • Human Impact on UK and Irish Marine and freshwater Environments (but this isn’t included in Overall Champion).

There were 36 entrants, 33 of whom submitted 75 images.  Results were announced online at the BSoUP monthly meeting held on 19th September 2023.  The top 4 of each category are displayed here and comprise a:

  • Winner
  • Runner up
  • Highly Commended x 2

The judges were Damien McGuirk and Simon Rogerson.  The standard was very high, and the decision about whose image would be Overall Champion (between Paul Colley’s wide angle and Dan Bolt’s close up) proved to be very difficult.

Results for BIUPC 2023 were as follows:

  • Human Impact (Winner) Gina Goodman: ‘Hidden Histories’. The wreck of the Ben As-dale, Maenporth, Cornwall. U.K.

  • Human Impact (Runner up). Sandra Stalker. 'Oyster racks in Fleet nature reserve'. Fleet Lagoon, Dorset. U.K.

  • Human Impact (Highly Commended): Dan Bolt: ‘Life from the rust’, Plymouth, Devon. U.K.

  • Human Impact (Highly Commended): John Bennett: ‘Man vs Lobster”. Big Sovereign Island, Cork, Ireland. RoI

  • Close Up (Winner): Dan Bolt: ‘Fluorescing jewel anemones’, Babbacombe, Devon. U.K.

  • Close Up (Runner Up): Grant McCarry: ‘An inquisitive Conger Eel’. Loch Long, Scotland. U.K.

  • Close Up (Highly Commended): Ryan Stalker: ‘A hiding cephalopod in the seaweed’. Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis), Portland Harbour, Dorset. U.K.

  • Close Up (Highly Commended): James Lynott: ‘Gills of a Sea Lemon nudibranch’. Doris Pseudoargus, Falls of Lora, Loch Etive, Scotland. U.K.

  • Champion & Wide Angle (Winner): Paul Colley. ‘Summer dreams by the River Test’. Whitchurch, Hampshire. U.K.

  • Wide Angle (Runner Up). Gina Goodman: ‘Ocean window’. Jellyfish through Snell’s window, Maenporth, Cornwall. U.K.

  • Wide Angle (Highly Commended): Dan Bolt: ‘Exploring Hilsea Point’. Plymouth, Devon. U.K.

  • Wide Angle (Highly Commended): Derek Bolton: ‘Secret daisy’s’. White striped anemones with dead men’s finger sponges, Sovereign Islands, South of Oysterhaven, Co. Cork. R

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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