Faces of biology: AIBS selects winners of 2020 photo contest

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Credit: Carlos Ruiz

Three winners have been selected in the 2020 Faces of Biology Photo Contest, sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

“Art and science are inextricably linked to effective communication,” said Scott Glisson, CEO of AIBS. “This contest provides a forum for expression, inspiration, and technical skill. The creativity involved is magnificent.”

The AIBS Faces of Biology contest showcases biological research in its many forms and settings. The photos are used to help the public and policymakers better understand the value of biological research and education.

Carlos Ruiz won first place with a photograph showing Cleopatra Pimienta, a biologist and doctoral candidate at Florida International University, working on her photographic record of insect-pollinated flowers in the Pine Rocklands habitat, deep in the Everglades in South Florida. Pimienta is seen taking a picture of the flaxleaf false foxglove (Agalinis linifolia). The flaxleaf false foxglove is a wetland plant that is frequently visited by native bees and serves as a host for caterpillars of a species of butterfly common in the area, making it a keystone species in this habitat.

Nicholas Freymueller, a master’s student at the University of New Mexico, won second place. In the photograph, Freymueller measures the lower carnassial length of the late Pleistocene-age scimitar cat (Homotherium serum) at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin. Molar lengths allow paleoecologists to determine the body size of extinct species, which is crucial in understanding how they interacted with each other in ancient ecosystems.

Mike Hamilton, third-place winner, captured a photograph of field researchers from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, conducting aquatic sampling of amphibians and their parasites at the University of California Blue Oak Ranch Reserve as part of a study to explore how multi-host, multi-pathogen interactions drive infection dynamics in complex communities and landscapes.

A forthcoming issue of the journal BioScience will feature the first-place photograph on the cover and the second- and third-place photos in an article. All of the winners receive a one-year subscription to BioScience. Carlos Ruiz will also receive $250.

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