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Incredible images reveal nature’s more obscure side

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — A photo of a bright orange fungus growing on deadwood, with its striking color resplendent against the darkness, has been crowned winner of this year’s BMC Ecology and Evolution image competition.

Cornelia Sattler from Macquarie University, Australia, captured the winning image in the Australian rainforest and cautioned against merely appreciating the “innocent and beautiful appearance” of the orange pore fungus, which is “an invasive species that displaces other fungi and is spreading throughout the [country].”

“It is important to closely monitor this fungus, whose spores are often transported by humans, in order to safeguard the biodiversity of Australia,” she added in a statement.

The image competition showcases the “intersection between art and science,” organizers said, in all its weird and wonderful forms.

In addition to the overall winner, the competition also gives ecologists, evolutionary biologists and palaeontologists a chance to use creativity to celebrate their research in four other categories.

Roberto García-Roa, from the University of Lund, Sweden, won the Protecting Our Planet category for his image of beekeepers tending to a hive at a sustainable beekeeping project in Guinea. The project aims to combat deforestation by encouraging locals to cultivate their own honey.

Meanwhile, João Araújo from the New York Botanical Garden won the Plants and Fungi category for his photo of a fungus parasitizing the fruiting body of a zombie-ant fungus, which itself is a parasite and can compel infected ants to migrate to more favorable locations.

The Research in Action category was won by Victor Huertas from James Cook University, Australia, for his image of an underwater remotely-operated vehicle being deployed in crystal-clear water at the Coral Sea Marine Park, Australia.

An image depicting an embryonic dinosaur developing within an egg between 72 million and 66 million years ago won the Paleoecology category. It was submitted by Jordan Mallon from the Candian Museum of Nature and created by Wenyu Ren from Beijing, China.

A selection of the winning and runner-up images can be viewed in the gallery above.

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Call to Earth is a CNN editorial series committed to reporting on the environmental challenges facing our planet, together with the solutions. Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative has partnered with CNN to drive awareness and education around key sustainability issues and to inspire positive action.

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