55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year

After months of anticipation, I can finally share some exciting news: I have been selected as one of the top 100 entries to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year out of over 48,000 entries worldwide!

My photograph, “Beach Waste”, was awarded Highly Commended in Photojournalism and will go on display at the British Natural History Museum on 18 October 2019 before starting a world tour with the exhibition. Though I wish the subject matter was more cheerful, the image tells a powerful story of our current relationship with the sea.

Kemps ridley sea turtle strangled by a beach chair
“Beach Waste”, Highly Commended in Photojournalism, 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

This endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) was found during a morning nesting patrol on the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA, apparently strangled by a discarded beach chair. Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered species of sea turtle worldwide after populations in the Gulf of Mexico plummeted due to harvesting and fisheries bycatch. Nesting outside of the western Gulf (Mexico and Texas) is rare. Interactions with marine debris and abandoned beach equipment is a growing threat not just for Kemp’s ridleys, but all sea turtle species worldwide. We must be better stewards of our environment if we are to see these beautiful creatures return to their former numbers. Please remove your equipment from the beach each night and dispose of any rubbish properly in order to preserve sea turtle nesting habitat – Leave No Trace!

Check out several other Highly Commended images from this year’s competition at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2019/sep/09/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-2019-highly-commended-pictures, and stay tuned for the announcement of the overall winners next month!

Published by Ware Research

I'm a coastal ecologist with a PhD in Biological Oceanography from Florida State University in the Marine Sea Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group (FSU MTRECG), as well as a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer. My current research with sea turtles in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, past research with coral reef restoration, and diving background have taken me all over the world - which is a mixed blessing with my photography hobby! Enjoy the posts on this site, check in often to stay up-to-date on my research, and please email me (mw15w@my.fsu.edu) if you have any questions about anything on this site!

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