Winners of WSC: General category

The following post list the winners of WSC 2017.

Comment from the jury:  The concept of sustainable development and the delicate interaction of human beings and ecosystems (particularly those belonging to oceans) have become key issues in the last decades and such topics resonate nowadays with the general public. In this image, the factor influencing the phenomenon of algal bloom is presented together with clear scientific information. In its apparent simplicity, it captures an inherently complex process and through its caption, it also introduces the reader to detailed levels of understanding. More specifically, this picture shows, on one hand, an algal bloom in a closed water body and, on the other hand, the human activities of the surrounding area. The magnitude and frequency of phytoplankton blooms have increased globally in recent decades, as shown in data from ocean-color sensors onboard satellites. Since satellite and airborne measurements represent an effective way for detecting and monitoring phytoplankton by its proxy, chlorophyll-a (the green pigment that is present in all algae), the image reminds us also of the core role of infrastructures in scientific research. Modern ecology is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach that needs information retrieved from space especially for understanding large-scale problems that wouldn’t be visible otherwise.  

Comment from the author (Olha Tomchenko): I am a research fellow at the Scientific Centre for Aerospace Research of the Earth in Ukraine, and I explore water ecosystems using methods of remote sensing of Earth.

My admiration of space images started when I first saw amazing pictures of our planet in the book Earth As Art, published by NASA. I was so impressed that it became the interest of my life. In 2014, while working on my PhD, I was lucky to analyze remote data on water bodies in Ukraine, including observations on the algal bloom at the water reservoirs of the Dnieper River.

This natural anomaly is directly caused by global warming, a number one problem for the humankind. I hope that the image itself is good enough to touch everyone’s heart and to attract the attention of humanity to the problem of climate change.

Satellite image of the phenomenon of “algae bloom” at the Kakhovka reservoir territory. Olha Tomchenko from Ukraine.


Emission-line filtered image of the Carina nebula. Ivan Bok from Singapore.


Lidar measurement from a shelter in Dome C, a few hundreds of meters from the Concordia research station. Paride Legovini from Italy.


Biodiversity at French scientific base. Diplulmaris antarctica. Erwan Amice from France.


Dorcus parallelipipedus (female). Sebastián J.L from Spain.


Frozen soap bubble. Larry-pilot from Switzerland.


Solar Eclipse of August 2017. Michael S. Adler from the USA.

Images were published under CC BY 4.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses.

* Image by Michael S. Adler was originally considered a winner, but due to the flaw discovered, a new winner was nominated.