November 26, 2013

Three winners have been selected in the Faces of Biology: Broader Impacts Photo Contest, sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). This is the third year AIBS has sponsored the photo contest, which drew robust participation from scientists, educators, and students.

The contest was an opportunity for members of the scientific community to showcase the broader impacts of the biological sciences, including informing natural resources management, addressing climate change, and advancing foundational knowledge. The photos will be used to help the public and policymakers to better understand the value of biological research and education.

"These excellent photographs will help the public and policymakers better understand the value of biological research and education," said AIBS executive director Richard O'Grady.

First Place Winner--Andrew Muir

Andrew Muir, science program manager at the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, won First Place. The winning photo depicts researchers working with lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). The fish are photographed to identify different morphotypes (i.e. deep versus shallow water) and to study form-function relationships to help inform fishery restoration efforts in the Great Lakes.

"Photography is an essential tool for the ecologist," said Muir. "I use photography to create a permanent record of time and place, events, and even of individual specimens. In addition to being an essential tool, I really try to capture my life as a biologist through the camera."

Second Place Winner--Benjamin Blonder

Second Place was awarded to Benjamin Blonder, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. His photo depicts Percy Orlando Chambi Porroa, a Peruvian student, measuring the dimensions on a branch obtained from the canopy of the cloud forest in ManĂº National Park in Peru. This information will be used to test theories of tree branch architecture and to better predict carbon fluxes in forests.

Third Place Winner--Benjamin Drummond

Benjamin Drummond, a member of a documentary team that specializes in multimedia stories about people, nature, and climate change, won Third Place. The photo shows an inmate technician handling an endangered Taylor's checkerspot butterfly. The Sustainability in Prisons Project in Washington State trains inmates to carry out ecological research, including rearing endangered species and propagating native prairie plants.

The first place photo will be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of the journal BioScience. Muir will also receive $250 and a one-year membership in AIBS, including a subscription to BioScience. The second and third place photos will be featured in an article in BioScience, and the photographers will each receive a one-year membership in AIBS with a subscription to BioScience.

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