2015 Photo Competition

2015 Judges

Introducing the Photo Competition Judges:

Ellen Cuylaerts

Curator Belgium

Göran Ehlmé

Head Designer, Waterproof Diving Internationa Sweden

Suzanne Gendron

Executive Director of Zoological Operations & Education, Ocean Park China

Judy Mann

Conservation Strategist, South African Association for Marine Biological Research South Africa

Kathy Moran

Senior Editor, Natural History, National Geographic United States

Manu San Felix

Underwater Image Director, Pristine Seas Project, National Geographic Spain

2015 World Oceans Day Theme Winner

The 2015 World Oceans Day Theme Winner, taken by Cecile Gaspar in French Polynesia, is a simply composed image of a young girl and a baby sea turtle sharing a brief encounter. However, the moment captured is extremely powerful and speaks loudly on the importance of healthy oceans to humankind and our future. The girl keeps the turtle safe for its first few steps out to uncertainty in the vast ocean. A steward of the ocean and its inhabitants, the young girl’s care and sense of wonder offer hope that, working together, we can protect the ocean for future generations of both humans and of sea turtles.


Cécile Gaspar (France)

French Polynesia

Above Water Seascapes

In the Above Water Seascapes category, we see low tide in an urban setting from a birdwatcher’s vantage point, an iguana that swims and dives for prey, and waves at dawn.


James Vodicka, Australia

Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia


Gregory Lecoeur, France

Tortuga Beach, Archipelago of Galapagos

Bair Mokhosoev, Russian Federation

May Day in Qinhuangdao City, China

Human Interaction with the Ocean

The category of Human Interaction: Taking Action on Climate Change and Ocean Acidification shows us opposite ends of the spectrum, from feared sharks and alligators to a cuddly seal pup. The shark and the seal are both at risk from human activity, while the alligator provides an opportunity to observe a predator.


Ellen Cuylaerts, Belgium

Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Canada


Gregory Lecoeur, France

Gardens of the Queen” in Cuba

Gregory Lecoeur, France

Underwater Life

Selections in the Underwater Life Category include a fish who has been engulfed by a predator, a mass of fish schooling for protection, and mother and infant humpback whales. These images display both a wild and dangerous side of life beneath the waves as well as a sense of calm, almost human-like, parental nurture. These scenes remind us that the oceans contain a vast diversity of life based on delicately balanced cycles.


Fabrice Guerin, France

Kingdom of Tonga


Jennifer O’Neil, USA

Doris Vierkoetter, Germany

Underwater Seascapes

The Underwater Seascapes category brings us jellyfish, an alligator lazing in a mangrove, and stingrays at sunset. These placid moments evoke a peaceful view of the ocean, one that provides relaxation and recreation for millions of people.


Ellen Cuylaerts, Belgium

Cayman Islands


Gregory Lecoeur, France

Garden of the Queen, Cuba

Ethan Daniels, USA

Youth Photographer

The young photographers who captured the Youth category wish to share scenes near their homes that inspire them to protect the ocean. Jaime Rae has captured the breach of a whale, while Jerard Raphaelle Baclay finds peaceful afternoons with small fishing boats.


Jerard Raphaelle Baclay, Philippines

Saranggani Province, Philippines


Jerard Raphaelle Baclay

Saranggani Province, Philippines

Jaime Rae, Canada

Bay of Fundy off of Grand Manan Island