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Diving northern gannets

Kat Zhou/UPY 2024

Snowy-white northern gannets (Morus bassanus) plunge into icy waters off the Shetland Islands in Scotland seeking meals on this action-packed {photograph}. The seabirds are virtually as massive as an albatross, with a wingspan of as much as 180 centimetres. They’re additionally uniquely tailored to high-speed diving, with sturdy neck muscle groups and nostrils inside their payments that may be closed to forestall water coming into.

The shot was probably the most spectacular within the 2024 Underwater Photographer of the 12 months competitors, which celebrates the wonders of the marine world. Listed here are a few of New Scientist’s prime picks from the various entries.

Virgo wreck close to Recife, Brazil

Fabi Fregonesi/UPY 2024

On this photograph by Fabiana Fregonesi, a faculty of fish swarm round a wreck, forming a form resembling a ship’s sail for a fleeting second. The vessel, known as Virgo, was intentionally sunk in 2017 to turn out to be a dive website close to Recife, Brazil.

“The sensation I had on the time was that the ship was able to set sail, starting its journey in direction of an unknown journey,” Fregonesi mentioned in a press release.

The attention of a gray whale

Rafael Fernandez Caballero/UPY 2024

The attention of an jap gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) pierces this mysterious shot taken from simply above the floor of a saltwater lagoon in west Mexico. These marine giants are pleasant creatures, typically exhibiting their curiosity by approaching boats. The whales make one of many longest annual migrations of any mammal – from summer season feeding grounds within the Arctic southwards alongside the west coast of North America to the nice and cozy lagoons of Baja California, Mexico.

An octopus ringed by a pyrosome

Dennis Corpuz/UPY 2024

In stark distinction to the big gray whale, this 10-centimetre-wide organism was captured up shut in deep waters off the Philippines. The round topic of the picture is a pyrosome – a colonial animal that’s made up of a whole bunch or 1000’s of minuscule people known as zooids. Enveloped contained in the weird pyrosome is a little bit octopus, simply peeking out.

A diving cormorant

Jon Anderson/UPY 2024

This ravenous cormorant makes a beeline in direction of photographer Jon Anderson’s digital camera, after mistaking it for a fish. The extraordinary picture was taken in a kelp forest at a dive website in Monterey, California, throughout a vivid summer season afternoon. Many cormorant species depend on these particular marine ecosystems to outlive; nevertheless, native kelp forests have declined 80 per cent up to now decade.

A stranded sperm whale

Nuno Sá/UPY 2024

Dozens of beachgoers in southern Portugal try to avoid wasting a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) on this unbelievable aerial shot.

“Collectively they push and chant, attempting to assist the large again into the ocean, because it slowly slaps its tail backwards and forwards and breathes closely,” mentioned photographer Nuno Sá in a press release. Regardless of their finest efforts, the whale died a number of hours after beaching – crushed below its personal weight with out the assist of water.

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