Pictures Worth a Contest Win

Three students and one lecturer were the winners of the Department of Biology’s photo contest this year. It comes as no surprise that these remarkable photos were chosen by the judges as the winners of the contest.

“Orlando Wetlands Park is a particularly special place for me. It’s a nice, close place to campus that I’ve used to take mental health breaks from the stresses of grad school.” – Ryan Chabot

  • Photographer: Ryan Chabot – Masters student in the Marine Sea Turtle Lab
  • What: A great place to go bird watching where there’s a large diversity of species with easy access to viewing areas.
  • Where: Orlando Wetlands Park
  • When: March 2016

“I was in the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group catching juvenile sea turtles in the basin to survey turtle populations in the area. This turtle was especially exciting because it’s a cross between a loggerhead sea turtle and a green sea turtle!” – Becky Smith

  • Photographer: Becky Smith – UCF biology graduate student
  • What: Holding the sea turtle is doctoral student Chris Long. The UCF Marine Turtle Research Group catches the turtles and tags them using flipper tags and PIT tags (similar to microchips in dogs.) They also take measurements and skin biopsy samples for genetic testing.
  • Where: Trident Basin in Port Canaveral
  • When: January 2016

“Anytime I can, I take the opportunity to hike and observe the awesome beauty of the natural world. When I am lucky, persistent and patient I am able to document some of the myriad behaviors and interactions among species and share them with others.” – Gregg Klowden

  • Photographer: Gregg Klowden – Biology lecturer
  • What: An adult female Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) photographed as the sun was setting and perfect to give a golden glow to the bird and its prey. Anhingas live in slow moving water in swamps, lakes, and rivers. They primarily eat fish which they catch by swimming underwater and stabbing with their sharp, pointy beak. Anhingas are often seen perched near water with their wings spread to dry their feathers. This is because, unlike ducks, they do not produce oil to waterproof their feathers. This reduces their buoyancy, allowing them to more easily swim underwater in search of prey.
  • Where: Ollie’s Pond, Charlotte County, FL
  • When: January 2017

“The photo was taken while doing fieldwork near one of our field sites where we were studying the rate of evapotranspiration of Carolina river willow.” – Daniel Goodding

  • Photographer: Daniel Goodding – Candidate for the conservation biology doctoral degree in the integrative biology track
  • What: This southern live oak branch has multiple species of epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants) including at least 3 different Tillandsia species (bromeliads, which includes Spanish moss), 1 fern species (resurrection fern), and multiple moss and lichen species (in varying greens, white, and pink here). Overall, there are at least 8 different epiphyte species in the photo.
  • Where: Floodplain of the St. John’s River
  • When: February 2014
  • Daniel’s nature photography website:

Three undergraduate biology students who are active in UCF biology student organizations sit on a panel of judges that choose the contest winners. Anyone in the Department of Biology may enter. Winners receive a small cash prize.

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