The SoMAS photo competition is intended to be an annual event where students (graduate and undergraduate), faculty and staff will get to share their pictures with the SoMAS community and the general public. There will be three winning photos every year, one for each category of the contest.

The Photo Competition is divided into three categories:

1- Macro: It’s all about the detail! Photos taken with the macro option-objective of the camera as well as microscope pictures will be accepted in this category.
2- Research: Pictures taken in the field or in the laboratory will be considered in this category. For a picture to be eligible the research related to it had to take place while being a SoMAS’ member (enrolled in the school or employed as staff).
3- SoMAS spirit: Freestyle photos. Anything that embodies the spirit of SoMAS will be eligible under this category. It can include photos of SoMAS events, SoMAS personnel, campus/equipment…your choice!

The SoMAS jury will choose the best five photos of each category (finalists), having one judge per category.

1- Macro: Prof. Gordon T. Taylor – His images of microorganisms have been used around the world in text books, magazines, online DVD courses, guides and numerous websites. Five of his images are on permanent exhibit at the Sant Ocean Hall (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History).

2- Research: Prof. Brad Peterson – Active SoMAS faculty with lots of hours spent in both the laboratory as well as in the field. The best choice for a fair evaluation of laboratory pictures versus in the field pictures.

3- SoMAS spirit: Dean Minghua Zhang – Who better to judge what represents the spirit of SoMAS than the School’s Dean himself!

Once the five best photos for each category have been selected the fifteen finalists will be sent to our Professional photographers’ judging panel, members include:

– Matthew D. Potenski: His photography focuses on marine animals and marine conservation issues. His images have appeared in books by marine authors Sylvia Earle and Richard Ellis, in media by the BBC, Dive style magazine, the Florida Wildlife Commission, National Geographic, Nature’s Best Photography, Seaweb/Marine Photobank, the Shark Research Institute, and WWF. He was recently awarded a Gold medal by the Federation Internationale d’ le Arte Photographique for the 4th International Contest of Digital Photography. (

– Chris and Monique Fallows: Chris and Monique are professional wildlife photographers and many of their breaching Great White Shark images have been seen worldwide in newspapers, magazines and television documentaries (many featured in Discovery channel’s Shark week). Chris has just recently completed his book ‘Great White, The Majesty of Sharks’, which chronicles Chris’ journey from his beginnings as a penniless shark enthusiast to his discovery of the “flying” white shark phenomenon. (

– Jon Whittle: For over a decade Jon Whittle has been traveling the globe with a camera in hand. Since graduating from the world renown Brooks Institute of Photography he has won multiple awards, been on assignment in over thirty countries, worked with a vast number of clients, and has been published in more than two dozen magazines. Jon is known for producing memorable imagery for both editorial and commercial uses and is equally skilled in the studio and in the field. No job is too big, nor any destination too remote (

The judges votes are in and the winners of the 2015 SoMAS Photograph Competition are:

Research Category:

Winner: Chris Paparo

The eyes of a bay scallop, Argopecten irradians, which was used in an ocean acidification research project by students in the Gobler lab.

 Research winner

Runners-up: Carl Safina, Alexandra Stevens, Demian Chapman & Alexandra Stevens

All Research submissions are available on Google Photos.


Macro Category:

Winner: Mark Bond

Juvenile jacks use the red jellyfish, Crambione mastigophora, also known as the ‘Sea tomato’ for refuge, Myanmar.


Runners-up: Kurt Bretsch, David Black, Chris Paparo & Mark Bond

All Macro photo submissions are available on Google Photos.


SoMAS Spirit Category:

Winner: Elizabeth Ahearn

Whale watching, a Minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, in Cape Cod


Runners-up: Kurt Bretsch, Mariana Edaes, Chris Paparo & Mariana Edaes
All Spirit Photo submissions are available on Google Photos.


Congratulations to our winners and a big thank you to the external professional judges, the SoMAS judges and everyone who submitted photographs and helped to make this a great year for the competition! Watch the walls in Endeavour 120 in the upcoming weeks as the 3 winners will be printed and displayed. All photographs submitted will be displayed on the SoMAS website shortly too!

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