Snake Eel-Cleaner Shrimp Duet Wins UM Rosenstiel School Underwater Photo Contest

Annual competition captures stunning images of marine life from around the world

MIAMI –May 24, 2017 – A cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes venustus) balancing on the snout of a black-saddle snake eel (Ophichthus cephalozona) is the winner of the 2017 Annual Underwater Photography Contest hosted by the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The photographer, Marchione Giacomo, took the photo in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and is one of more than 650 underwater images submitted for this year’s contest.

A panel of experts, including photographer and Zoo Miami communications director and Nikon ambassador, Ron Magill, and Rosenstiel School Research Assistant Professors Evan D’Alessandro and Neil Hammerschlag, judged the photos that came from 18 countries and 15 U.S. states. Awards were given in four categories: macro, fish or marine animal portrait, wide angle, and best overall submission. The competition also recognized the best UM student photo, which was of a Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) taken by undergraduate student Joslen Beitel in the Galapagos Islands.

The annual underwater photography contest is open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from their photography. View the winners of this year’s contest here. The ‘best overall’ prize is a trip on Blackbeard’s Cruises departing from Freeport, Bahamas. The ‘best UM student photos’ were sponsored by Divers Direct.


Winners listed by category, and location where photo was shot:

2017 Underwater Photo Contest Winners

Overall Winner
Marchione Giacomo, Black-saddled eel (Ophichthus cephalozona) being cleaned by a cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes venustus), Indonesia
1st place Jerome Israel, nudibranch on gorgonian (Tritonia hamnerorum), Florida Keys
2nd place: Steven Kovacs, juvenile flying fish, (family: Exocoetidae) Riviera Beach, Florida
3rd place: Dragos Dumitrescu, Formosa egg cowrie (Cuspivolva formosa), Lembeh, Indonesia
Honorable Mention: Massimo Giorgetta, Soft coral porcelain crab (Lissoporcellana nakasonei), Indonesia
Fish or Marine Animal Portrait
1st place: Andrew Delano, jawfish, family: Opistognathidae, Philippines
2nd place: Ryan Nelson, West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), Crystal River, Florida
3rd place: Marchione Giacomo, giant manta (Manta birostris) with golden trevally (Gnathodon speciosus), Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Honorable Mention: Tony Cherbas, Graysby (Cephalopholis cruentata) with cleaner shrimp, Florida
1st place: Marchione Giacomo, Whale shark (Rhincodon typus), with yellow remoras, family: Echeneidae Huvadhoo, South Atoll, Maldives
2nd place: Tony Cherbas, Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), Riviera Beach, Florida
3rd place: Massimo Giorgetta, school of longfin batfish (Platax teira), Indonesia
UM Student
1st place: Joslen Beitel, Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki), Galapagos
2nd place: Kevin Schauer, Chain moray eel (Echidna catenata), Curaçao, Netherland Antiles
3rd place: Rebecca Kraut, Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), Key Largo, Florida
Honorable Mention: Joslen Beitel, Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Galapagos

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

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