Photography Contest: Finalists, Threatened or Endangered

Note: Matt Young directed the selection of the finalists and wrote most of this text.

We received approximately 60 photographs from 20 photographers. Most of the pictures were excellent. Approximately half represented endangered or invasive species, very loosely defined. We therefore established 3 categories: general, threatened or endangered, and invasive.

Choosing finalists was difficult. We considered what we thought was the scientific and pictorial qualities of the photographs, and also attempted to represent as many photographers and present as much variety as possible. The text was written by the photographers and lightly edited for style.

Here are the finalists in the threatened or endangered category. Please look through them before voting for your favorite. We know it is possible to game these polls. Please act like adults and don’t vote more than once. If we believe that the results are invalid, the contest will be canceled. The photos and poll are below the fold.

The Talk Origins Archive Foundation will provide the winner with an autographed copy of Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails), by Matt Young and Paul Strode?

  • Ursus maritimus, polar bear, by Dan Moore — The IUCN now lists global warming as the most significant threat to the polar bear, primarily because the melting of its sea ice habitat reduces its ability to find sufficient food. It states, "If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years."
  • Ommatius sp., robber fly, by Pete Moulton — with a leafhopper for breakfast, confluence of Rio Verde and Rio Salado north of Mesa, Arizona. Not an endangered species in and of itself, but representative of Arizona's rapidly disappearing riparian habitats
  • Lepyronia angulifera, angular spittlebug, by Jim Kramer — It is classified as threatened due to habitat destruction. If you do a Google image search on Lepyronia angulifera, you will find about 18 images of the insect; 7 of them are mine, representing two specimens. That alone suggests that "threatened" may be insufficient.
  • Stalagmite made of ice in a high-altitude lava tube in Arizona, by James Rice — Cold air seeps into the cave in winter, becoming trapped. As liquid water from the overlying rock drips in, it is flash-frozen by the cold, forming this beautiful natural ice sculpture.
  • Rhynchostylis retusa, foxtail orchid, by Buddhini Samarasinghe — Plant is native to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. The plant is on the verge of extinction in India because of bio-piracy.
  • Canis lupus baileyi, Mexican gray wolf, by Dan Stodola — A subspecies of the gray wolf. Was intentionally eradicated from the wild to protect domestic livestock. Has now been reintroduced to a limited range in Arizona. Photo taken at Brookfield Zoo.