Photos of a sinister-looking tree frog, an eagle clutching its prey, and a surprise attack from a hungry mama leopard were all among the finalists in the 2022 British Ecological Society’s annual photography competition, ‘Capturing Ecology’. Snapped by ecologists and students around the world, the winning images celebrate the planet’s diverse flora and fauna.

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A light in the shadows
Overall winner
The glowing golden eyes of a Helena's tree frog pierce the darkness as it perches on a mossy tree in the Peruvian jungle of Tambopata.
Roberto Garcia Roa/British Ecological Society

The top prize this year went to Roberto Garcia Roa, a conservation photographer and evolutionary biologist at Lund University, who captured a captivating shot of a Helena's tree frog (Osteocephalus helenae), its eyes glowing in the gloomy darkness.

"Winning the British Ecological Society’s Capturing Ecology photography competition with this image has a special significance to me for many reasons," Garcia Roa explained in a press release. "First, it links two powerful allies, science, and photography, which have emerged hand in hand during the last two centuries as key tools for deciphering the natural world around us."

Roa went on to stress the importance of protecting threatened species like the Helena's tree frog and its fragile habitats: "This image reveals the beauty of nature hidden in Tambopata, a region that is currently threatened by gold mining."

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Takeout
Student winner
In a chaotic scene, a bald eagle – clutching its prey – tries to avoid a flock of western gulls circling above.
Sam Eberhard/British Ecological Society

Also picking up an accolade was Sam Eberhard's photo of a bald eagle carrying its prey among a flock of angry gulls. "'Takeout' is a frozen moment of intense action at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon. A bald eagle has seized a common murre from the top of the rock and is making away with its meal amidst a mobbing of western gulls," says Eberhard, whose image earned him the title of 'Overall student winner of Capturing Ecology 2022'.

Here's a look at some of the other winning and highly commended photos from this year's competition:

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Wild pearls
Winner, Up Close and Personal
A gold-striped salamander is nestled amongst a jumble of eggs, easily mistakable for a collection of pearls.
Javier Lobon-Rovira/British Ecological Society
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Invasive battle - fire fierce
Winner, Dynamic Ecosystems
An army of fire ants climb over the pale, peeling skin and glassy eye of a house gecko laying on top of a sandy rock.
Javier Lobon-Rovira/British Ecological Society
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Night Guardian
Winner, Individuals & Populations
Speckled with shades of brown and green, a smooth helmeted iguana is hard to spot as it grabs hold of a mossy green tree trunk.
Javier Lobon-Rovira/British Ecological Society
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A new plastic home
Winner, People & Nature
A terrestrial hermit crab with its new home, a faded plastic bottle cap, explores a postcard-perfect idyllic beach scene.
Andreas Eich/British Ecological Society
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Bruma
Winner, Ecology in Action
A female Bonelli's eagle, "Bruma", lays dead in the dirt after being electrocuted by powerlines looming in the distance.
Roberto Garcia Roa/British Ecological Society
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Bubble bath
Winner, The Art of Ecology
A horned grebe calmly floats as the rising sunlight reflects off the water's surface.
Alwin Hardenbol/British Ecological Society
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Leopard Surprise!
Overall Runner Up
Frozen in time, this image captures a Steenbok’s last futile attempt not to become prey, while a mother Leopard is determined to feed her cub.
Peter Hudson/British Ecological Society
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Morning dew
Overall Runner Up
A damon blue butterfly (Polyommatus damon) - a common late summer species in mountainous regions of Europe - is covered by dew drops at dawn, patiently waiting to be warmed by the day's first sunlight.
Francesca Martelli/British Ecological Society
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Calling out into darkness
Highly Commended, Individuals & Populations
Clinging to a thin branch, the red-eyed tree frog calls out for a mate illuminated in vivid shades of red, blue and green against the dark black cover of night.
Sam J. England/British Ecological Society
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A pair for life!
Highly Commended, People and Nature
Mid courtship dance, two Sarus cranes reach for the skies with the home they share visible in the background.
Subhashis Halder/British Ecological Society
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Diwali in the forest
Student Prize, The Art of Ecology
The glowing green lights of a swarm of fireflies shine brightly against the deep green grass of the forest floor.
Naitik Patel/British Ecological Society
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Danger Spawning
Student Prize, Dynamic Ecosystems
Below the water's surface, thousands of black and white striped convict tangs congregate unaware as a grey reef shark lurks in the background.
Emma Weschke/British Ecological Society
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Studying the most trafficked animal in the world
Student Prize, Ecology in Action
PhD student Ruth Smith crouches beside a 42-kilogram male giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), the largest on record, after taking tissue samples and fitting a GPS device to relay the animal's location.
Ruth Smith/British Ecological Society
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The shrike strikes again!
Student Prize, Individuals & Populations
A round-tailed horn Llzard (Phrynosoma modestum) impaled by a yucca stalk in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, USA. The culprit? A gray, medium-sized songbird known as the loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) or butcherbird. 
Jennifer Holguin/British Ecological Society