Photo contest winner, and new contest

The winner of our fall At Large contest is this photo of glittering blue-green damselfish amid coral branches on Australia’s Northern Great Barrier Reef. The photo is featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Research|Penn State magazine, which arrives on campus this week.

This image was shot by F. Joseph Pollock, a postdoctoral scholar working with Penn State biologist Mónica Medina, during a sampling trip to Lizard Island in 2015. The site is one of many being studied as part of the Global Coral Microbiome Project, an NSF-funded collaboration between Penn State and Oregon State. Joe helps lead the project, in which researchers sample corals from all over the world to explore questions about the evolution of animal-microbe symbioses and how microbial symbionts affect coral health.

A few months after Joe took this photo, the Great Barrier Reef was hit by a mass bleaching event that killed up to half of the corals at some locations, including Lizard Island. Bleaching occurs when the symbiotic algal cells that nourish the coral and give it much of its color die. That, in turn, leads to the death of the coral, so all that is left is the coral’s white (“bleached”) calcareous skeleton. Coral bleaching, once a relatively rare event, has become more common in recent years due primarily to warming of the ocean’s water. Joe has not been back to the site since he made the picture, but this beautiful scene may no longer exist.

Thank you to all who sent images for consideration. Your beautiful photos made the job of choosing a winner difficult, but very enjoyable.

We now announce the contest to find another superb image for the At Large pages of our Spring 2017 issue. In addition to publication in Research|Penn State, the winner will receive a high-quality print of the At Large spread, suitable for framing.

Here are the contest guidelines:

  • Image must relate to research being conducted by someone at Penn State.
  • Image must be a strong horizontal so it can completely fill a two-page spread, and must be visually compelling.
  • Image must be available at high resolution, at least 300 dpi (this is not the same as ppi) at a size of 11” x 17”. Keep this in mind as you shoot photos, especially through microscopes. We have had to eliminate beautiful images from consideration because they were not shot at a high enough resolution to be enlarged to publication size.
  • Image can be a scenic, close-up, or micrograph. It can be realistic or abstract, color or black & white or colorized. Archival shots will also be considered. Previous winners can be seen here, here, and here.
  • Although we may use a shot with a person (or people) in it, we do not use portraits.
  • Please provide basic information about the image, such as where it was shot, by whom, and what research it relates to.

Please send your photos to me, Cherie Winner, at Lo-res versions are fine at this stage. If we select your image, we’ll ask for the hi-res version. Deadline for submission is Monday, January 9, 2017. For more information, drop me a line via email or call me at 3-4750.

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