Announcing winners of NI Photo Contest 2018

The winners of the fifth edition of Nature India photo contest have now been chosen after a week of unprecedented activity on the Indigenus blog and our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter ), and brainstorming by a global jury comprising members of the Nature Research editorial and design teams as well as an independent vector-borne diseases scientist.

The photographs have been judged for their adherence to this year’s theme ‘Vector-borne diseases’, for their creative thinking, quality and print worthiness. They were also rated in part on the engagement they received on social media.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 is:

Sudip Maitifrom Kolkata, India

for his striking image titled ‘Safe from dengue’, a simple yet powerful message around prevention of vector-borne diseases.

Sudip Maiti

Sudip says this about his image:

Sudip Maiti

This two-year-old boy plays safely inside a mosquito net in Kolkata,West Bengal, India. Over 13,000 people were affected by the vector-borne disease in the State of west Bengal alone in the year 2017, while the official death count reached 30.

As a simple preventive measure, the use of mosquito net is widespread among the residents of this eastern metropolis.

In second position is:

Aditya Kanwal from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, Punjab, India

with his picture titled ‘The pretty side of mosquitoes‘ that beautifully brings out a not so known facet of the deadly vector. 

Aditya Kanwal

Aditya says:

Aditya Kanwal

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals on Earth. They kill more humans than any other organism does. However, of around 3500 mosquito species, only a few are disease carriers. And only the females bite humans. Most mosquitoes don’t bother humans, and actually play a very important role in our ecosystem. Mosquito adults as well as larvae are important source of food for birds, amphibians and fishes. This means, eradicating them completely may drastically impact the food chain. Mosquitoes are also essential pollinators for many plant species and provide nutrition to some of them such as the pitcher plants.

Therefore, complete removal of mosquitoes may also have detrimental effects on several plant species. Some people argue that it won’t be long before other species occupy the niche. But it takes millions of years for organisms to co-evolve. So in case mosquitoes go extinct, it may take some more sacrifices and a long time for the ecosystem to stabilise.

What the world needs is smarter, targeted strategies to control only the disease-causing species of mosquitoes. Initial trials with genetically modified male mosquitoes, that are unable to carry a vector or produce lethal offspring when they mate, are showing promise. With all the funding that’s going into mosquito research, we may soon have a sane solution to tackle our biggest enemy with minimum collateral damage.

The third prize goes to:

Nitin Gupta, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

for his image ‘Mosquito: an accidental killer‘ where he bravely clicked a mosquito feasting on a blood meal on his hand.

Nitin Gupta

Nitin says:

Female mosquitoes bite us because they need blood to nourish their eggs. The bite itself is not harmful: the tiny belly of a mosquito, seen in the photograph, can take no more than a few microliters of blood at a time, while the human body produces 10 times more every minute. What makes the bite dangerous occasionally is what the mosquito leaves behind, which could be a deadly parasite.

The photograph shows a female Culex mosquito gorging on my left hand, which I captured using a camera held in the right hand.

Congratulations to the winners!

The jury also wants to make special mention of the entries by finalists Preethi Krishnamoorthy, Kairamkonda Subhash and K. S. Praveen Kumar, all of whom gave tough competition to the winners.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

These winning photos and those of 7 other finalists will be featured in a roving exhibition at four venues in India, details of which we will announce as we firm up these events.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #10

Today we are announcing the last finalist of the Nature India photo contest 2018 — finalist number 10:

Preethi Krishnamoorthy, Project Assistant, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, India

Photo caption: Sting of death

Preethi Krishnamoorthy

Preethi captured this photo of a mosquito feeding on plant nectar, the mosquito’s main food (not blood, as popularly assumed), in June 2018 at Srirangapatna in Karnataka, India. She describes it thus:

Preethi Krishnamoorthy

Of the millions of animals known to mankind, no other animal has claimed as many lives as the ordinary mosquito. In India, the most common diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are  malaria, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, kala-azar, Japanese encephalitis and chikungunya, dengue being the most rapidly spreading vector-borne disease in the world. While the existence of these viruses and parasites are beyond our control, their spread via mosquitoes is accentuated by man-made climate change.

With the increase in global temperatures, we are creating more mosquito-friendly habitats. Mosquitoes are now spreading to higher latitudes and altitudes and spreading diseases to places where they never existed before.

Congratulations Preethi for getting into our top ten!

And with that we come to the end of our long list for the 2018 contest! The contest got us some wonderful entries from around the world. We are delighted to have received a wide variety of entries despite the tougher than usual theme in ‘vector-borne diseases, which called for more thought, creativity and originality.

Over the last ten days, we rolled out the top ten finalists of 5th edition of the Nature India photo contest 2018 in no particular order of merit. Watch this space as we announce the top three winners of the contest by the end of January 2019.

Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. Till then, promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

The winner of the contest will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #9

Two more to go in the long list. Announcing the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number nine:

Kairamkonda Subhash, Research Associate, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Photo caption: A breeding haven

Kairamkonda Subhash

Subhash explains his photo thus:

Kairamkonda Subhash

At first look this picture looks too cluttered. But that is how these water-logged mosquito breeding places are! You can see both mosquitoes and their larvae in the image.

This water puddle was formed by accumulation of rain water in the buttress root network of a Gulmohar (Delonix regia) tree. The red colour, characteristic of the trees bright flowers and interestingly symbolising blood on which the mosquitoes feed, was created by drowned petals.

Regulating mosquito population is key to reducing the vector-borne diseases. The first step in this process would be to eliminate mosquito breeding havens like these.

Welcome to the top ten, Subhash!

The 5th edition of the Nature India photo contest is now rolling out its long list of top ten in no particular order of merit. The contest themed “vector-borne diseases” was announced in November 2018 and has received some fabulous entries from around the world.

Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the contest will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #8

Rolling out finalist number eight in the Nature India Photo Contest 2018:

Rodrigo Nunes, Photographer, Brasília, Brazil

Photo caption: Fight against dengue

Rodrigo took this picture in January 2016 during a government awareness initiative in Brazlândia, an administrative region in the Federal District in Brazil. Rodrigo explains his picture thus:

Rodrigo Nunes

This photo was taken during an awareness campaign against Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever. The picture shows a health agent holding a test tube with the larva of Aedes Aegypti. The larva was found in the house of a resident in Brazlândia city. 

Brazil has reported cases of dengue in Acre, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo. Peak transmission is reported during the rainy season from January to May. During 2015-16, the country also suffered a Zika virus epidemic spread mainly by the same mosquito Aedes Aegypti. The epidemic was contained through massive multi-agency action in November 2016 but continues to feature high on the national public health priorities of the country.

Congratulations on getting into top ten, Rodrigo!

The 5th edition of the Nature India photo contest is now rolling out its long list of top ten in no particular order of merit. The contest themed “vector-borne diseases” was announced in November 2018 and has received some fabulous entries from around the world.

Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the contest will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #7

Time now to announce the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number seven:

K. S. Praveen Kumar, Senior Photographer, Deshabhimani Daily, Kozhikkode, Kerala, India.

Photo Caption: Death in the times of Nipah

K. S. Praveen Kumar

During the first ever outbreak of the bat-borne Nipah virus in south India in May-June 2018, Praveen was on assignment from his newspaper to capture the tragedy that struck the Kozhikode district of Kerala. Praveen says: 

K. S. Praveen Kumar

This is the picture of a burial team in protective gear. As bodies of Nipah victims can be extremely infectious, the physical remains of one such victim are being taken for “safe burial” under the Ebola protocol at the Kozhikode Kannamparambu cemetery in Kerala.

When the whole of the district kept indoors, fearing the deadly Nipah virus and international tourists skipped flights to Kerala, my intention was to bring this deadly disease to light. The Nipah virus outbreak killed 17 people in the two affected districts of Kozhikode and Malappuram.

This emerging infectious disease spreads through secretions of infected bats. It can spread to humans through contaminated fruit, infected animals or through close contact with infected humans.

This picture of burial workers clad in protective gear that resemble spacesuits captures the grimness and horror associated with this deadly disease. Paradoxically though, despite the fear, grief and despair, relatives’ pleas for a traditional burial brought to fore the need for better awareness for such emerging infectious diseases.

Wonderful capture Praveen, and welcome to our top 10!

The 5th edition of the Nature India photo contest is now rolling out its long list of top ten in no particular order of merit. The contest themed “vector-borne diseases” was announced in November 2018 and has received some fabulous entries from around the world.

Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the contest will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #6

Time now to announce the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number six:

Devinder Toor, Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of Virology and Immunology, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, India

Photo Caption: Exposed

Devinder Toor

Devinder Toor took this image of a sick man in need of immediate medical attention to highlight the neglect that many patients affected with vector-borne diseases face. He explains this image he shot in the summer of 2016, thus: 

Devinder Toor

Poverty, lack of hygiene, high temperature and humidity force a large number of people in India to sleep in open, unhygienic and dangerous places, exposing them to vector-borne diseases. Also, apathy of civic agencies in maintaining cleanliness further aggravates the spread of these diseases.

I clicked this picture while roaming around in India’s eastern metropolis of Kolkata. I saw this sick man waiting for attention on the railway tracks as people went about their usual business. From the flyover across the tracks, where I was was standing, it presented a grim picture of poverty, neglect and mortality due to vector-borne diseases. 

Congratulations on getting into top 10, Devinder!

The Nature India editorial and design teams will shortlist the top three from the ten stunning images we are rolling out now in no particular order of merit. Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will receive a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #5

And here is the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number five:

Aditya Kanwal, PhD student, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, Punjab

Photo caption: The pretty side of mosquitoes

Aditya Kanwal

Not all mosquitoes are evil. There’s another side to their story. Aditya Kanwal draws our attention to the wondrous side of these much-maligned vectors through this picture he shot in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India in the summer of 2018:

Aditya Kanwal

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals on Earth. They kill more humans than any other organism does. They can transmit parasites such as worms, fly larva, protozoa and viruses without getting affected themselves and cause deadly diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, encephalitis, Ross River fever and Zika.

However, of around 3500 mosquito species, only a few are disease carriers. And only the females bite humans. Most mosquitoes don’t bother humans, and actually play a very important role in our ecosystem. Mosquito adults as well as larvae are important source of food for birds, amphibians and fishes. This means, eradicating them completely may drastically impact the food chain.

Mosquitoes are also essential pollinators for many plant species and provide nutrition to some of them such as the pitcher plants. Therefore, complete removal of mosquitoes may also have detrimental effects on several plant species. Some people argue that it won’t be long before other species occupy the niche. But it takes millions of years for organisms to co-evolve. So in case mosquitoes go extinct, it may take some more sacrifices and a long time for the ecosystem to stabilise.

What the world needs is smarter, targeted strategies to control only the disease-causing species of mosquitoes. Initial trials with genetically modified male mosquitoes, that are unable to carry a vector or produce lethal offspring when they mate, are showing promise. With all the funding that’s going into mosquito research, we may soon have a sane solution to tackle our biggest enemy with minimum collateral damage.

Congratulations Aditya for making it to top ten with a unique perspective to the mosquito story!

The Nature India editorial and design teams will shortlist the top three from the ten stunning images we are rolling out now in no particular order of merit. Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will receive a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #4

Time now to roll out the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number four:

Owais Rashid Hakiem, PhD student, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India

Photo caption: Nip them in the larva

Owais Rashid Hakiem

Owais Rashid Hakiem

Owais shot a series of pictures highlighting the menace of vector-borne diseases and probable solutions.

He took this picture of mosquito larva in the insectory of the National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, where they rear Anopheles mosquitoes to understand the molecular mechanism of progression of malaria. Owais says:

Plasmodium, a single cell parasite spreads to humans through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquito, also known as night-biting mosquito as it mostly bites between dusk and dawn.

The mosquito lays eggs mostly inside open containers. New vectors hatch when the containers are filled with water. Dirty surroundings, unsafe water and poor personal hygiene are some major socioeconomic factors that play a vital role in the spread of malaria. The key to prevent malaria and other such vector-borne diseases is cleanliness so as to scuttle any chance of the larvae to hatch. Not allowing water to accumulate in open containers and other spaces within the house, or in the backyard, is a key first step towards fighting the menace, or as they say, in nipping it in the bud.

Welcome to the top ten Owais!

The Nature India editorial and design teams will shortlist the top three from the ten stunning images we are rolling out now in no particular order of merit. Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will receive a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #3

And now, the Nature India photo contest 2018 finalist number three:

Rajib Schubert, Postdoctoral scientist, California Institute of Technology, USA.

Caption: Fighting virus nano-style

Rajib Schubert

Here’s what Rajib has to say about this image that unveils a nanotechnology-aided probable solution to viral infections:

Rajib Schubert

Vector borne diseases such as dengue continue to plague the world today with no concrete solution in sight. Nanotechnology may offer a potential solution. To believe that nanotechnology works we need to see it in action. However, this is challenging as the subject at hand is very small — smaller than what the naked eye can see (in the nanometre range or tinier than a needle tip).

This scanning electron microscope image shows nanoparticles (the big spheres) coated with special chemicals which can trap the dengue viruses (the small spheres) from whole blood serum. It points us to one of the future solutions to dengue — trapping the infectious virus particles and making them ineffective.

I acquired this image in September 2017 at the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, Switzerland.

Congratulations for making it to top ten, Rajib!

The Nature India editorial and design teams will shortlist the top three from the ten stunning images we are rolling out now in no particular order of merit. Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.

NI Photo Contest 2018: Finalist #2

Announcing finalist #2 in the Nature India photo contest 2018 themed “vector-borne diseases”:

Sudip Maiti, Photographer, Kolkata, West Bengal India.

Photo caption: Safe from dengue

Sudip Maiti

Sudip says this about his image, which focuses on prevention as a key aspect in the fight against vector-borne diseases:

Sudip Maiti

This two-year-old boy plays safely inside a mosquito net in Kolkata,West Bengal, India. Over 13,000 people were affected by the vector-borne disease in the State of west Bengal alone in the year 2017, while the official death count reached 30.

As a simple preventive measure, the use of mosquito net is widespread among the residents of this eastern metropolis.

Congratulations Sudip for making it to the long list of the Nature India Photo Contest 2018.

As the Nature India editorial and design teams get busy shortlisting the top three from these ten stunning images, we will be rolling them out (in no particular order of merit) over the next few days. Nature India’s final decision to chose the winner will be partly influenced by the engagement and reception these pictures receive here at the Indigenus blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. To give all finalists a fair chance, we will consider the social media engagement each picture gets only during the first seven days of its announcement. The final results will be announced sometime in late January 2019.

The winner of the Nature India photo contest 2018 will get a cash award of $350, the second prize is worth $250 and the third $200. Photographs will be judged for novelty, creativity, quality and printability by a panel of Nature Research editors and photographers alongside a leading Indian scientist working in the area of vector-borne diseases. The winner and two runners-up will receive a copy of the Nature India Annual Volume 2017 and a bag of goodies (including Collector’s first issues of Nature and Scientific American and some other keepsakes) from the Nature Research. One of the winning entries also stands a chance of being featured on the cover a forthcoming print publication.

So watch out for our other finalists and feel free to promote, share and like your favourite entries with the hashtag #NatureIndphoto.