See Stunning Undersea Images That Showcase Our Blue Planet

From reef sharks to bioluminescent squid, the Ocean Photography Award highlights the wonders and perils of life in the sea

A green sea turtle surrounded by a swarm of small glass fish

A green turtle surrounded by glassfish in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Green sea turtles, which are classified as endangered, migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched. Aimee Jan/Ocean Photography Contest

This year's collection of pictures from Oceanographic Magazine’s Ocean Photography Awards captures a world hidden beneath the water's surface. The group of winning images celebrates ocean residents while highlighting their uphill battle against climate change, overfishing, and pollution. 

The contest features eight categories, including the new Female Fifty Fathoms Award, an award aimed at elevating female photographers. Amateurs and professionals alike submitted images that encompass a range of species and marine ecosystems. In one picture, a diver navigates a stalactite-filled undersea cave in Mexico, and in another, a photographer captures the glowing bespeckled face of a squid. This year's Ocean Photographer of the Year, Aimee Jan, won the grand prize with her image of a green sea turtle surrounded by glassfish in Western Australia. A selection of the contest’s images is on display at a free, month-long outdoor exhibition in London. 

Here are a selection of photographs that showcase the beauty, danger, and mystery of the undersea world:

Second Prize, Ocean Photographer of the Year 

two white colored gannets (birds) dive into the ocean
Gannets dive for mackerel in the Shetland Islands, Isle of Noss, U.K. Northern Gannets are monogamous and mate for life, much like albatrosses. Henley Spiers/Ocean Photography Awards

Third Place, Ocean Photographer of the Year

A young hawksbill sea turtle at the ocean surface
A hawksbill turtle hatchling in Papua New Guinea. The turtle gets its common name from the shape of its curved, pointed beak, which resembles a bird of prey. Matty Smith/Ocean Photography Awards

Winner, Female Fifty Fathoms Award

A black tip reef shark below the surface at sunset
A blacktip reef shark breaks the water's surface at sunset in Moorea, French Polynesia. As top predators, sharks play an important role in the ecosystem food chain balance and serve as an indicator for healthy oceans. Renee Capozzola/Ocean Photography Contest

Winner, Exploration Photographer of the Year

A dark undersea cave with stalagmites and a diver with a light
Speleothems (stalactites and stalagmites) cast shadows in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Martin Broen/Ocean Photography Awards

Second Place: Female Fifty Fathoms Award

a black and white manta ray at the surface
A manta ray feeds in the calm waters of Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. Manta rays are one of the largest fish in the world, with some individuals reaching wingspans of more than 25 feet. Aimee Jan/Ocean Photography Contest

Third Place, Exploration Photographer of the Year

a brightly colored southern calamari squid against a black backdrop
A portrait of a southern calamari squid in Bushrangers Bay, Australia. The hungry squid feed mainly in the dark and often approach divers at night to feed on the fish and crustaceans attracted to their lights. Matty Smith/Ocean Photography Awards

Third Place, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year

a freediver below the ocean surface near a large humpback whale
A freediver duck dives to capture a photograph of a humpback whale. The school-bus-sized animals are known for their melodic songs and dramatic breaching. Sébastien Pontoizeau/Ocean Photography Awards

Winner, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year

A dead moray eel caught on an abandoned fishing line
A dead moray eel caught on an abandoned fishing line in Bodrum, Turkey. Kerim Sabuncuoglu/Ocean Photography Contest

Winner, Young Ocean Photographer of the Year

a green sea turtle hatching surfacing for air in turquoise water
A young sea turtle hatchling surfacing for air in Heron Island, Australia. There are seven species of sea turtle found around the world, all of which are vulnerable or endangered. Hannah Le Leu/Ocean Photography Contest

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