National Science Week Photography Competition

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National Science Week Photography Competition


Showcase your work, share your research and show us what science at USC means to you

The National Science Week Photographic competition aims to showcase the multiple areas of science that USC students are engaged in. With an emphasis on the breadth of scientific work, the event’s theme highlights the multifaceted, multidisciplinary, intellectual and practical study of the world.

2019 National Science Week Photography
Competition winners

1st prize

Thomas Poisot

Saitis barbipes
2nd prize

Billy Dickson


2019 National Science Week Photography Competition entries

Water dragons

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Our work with water dragons in Roma Street Parkland Brisbane traverses many areas of study including social and agonistic behaviour, nesting, relatedness and genetic variation. We also work with many students on an international scale. Here, one of our interns from France got a surprise while conducting behavioural surveys. Water dragons are highly inquisitive and will try and eat just about anything, including temperature guns!

The eternally unfolding present

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Normal scientific thinking and practice, since the Enlightenment, has been characterised by a form of objectivity mostly achieved by the separation of humans from the world around us; such rationality is impersonal. This suggests that we know and learn about the world because we are separated from it, rather than imbedded in it. My research challenges that assumption. This photo, taken during fieldwork, implicitly suggests and highlights aspects of scientific practice-in-action. The photo shows parts of the biophysical world that my research partners and I are trying to understand via our lived experiences. These experiences include experiments, field surveys or fluid human-Nature relationships. An example of such relationships is depicted here by the small boat in the middle of the photo. An impersonal perspective here will say we travel to cross over a sea, however, we reach this point by journeying inside it. Our understanding of the world is not only cognitive but also corporeal: sight, smell, balance, touch and other senses are interpreted to provide an acute awareness that shapes my practices as a researcher, and my partners’ actions. This gives us the ability to consider the world’s messiness and how biodiversity conservation occurs in ‘the eternally unfolding present’.


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The humble Pelican is a bird that has had to adapt to its ever-changing environment. These birds have been found in the centre of Australia’s lakes, lagoons and rivers, and along all the coastal seas, oceans, and river systems of Australia and indeed the world. As a Kabi-Kabi, Wakka-Wakka, Koa and Guugu Yimithirr the photographs enclosed demonstrate my sense of connectedness, to these creatures, through family, and draws upon my cultural heritage and those multidimensional skills I possess from my traditional and contemporary sense of knowledge. Through learning and teaching gained throughout my life experiences I explore my connections to country from this multidimensional spectrum, which can be seen through all of the lenses of humanities, social sciences and biophysical sciences. The evidence of our presence as a point of existence, in our continual Dreaming reflected in this photograph which captures a Kabi-Kabi child’s meeting, communication, dancing, playing, playing and with Mr. Pelican on the Maroochy River. Friendship bonds were forged between them, and in doing so, allowed the child to heed Mr. Pelican’s last words to him as he disappeared on the horizon. Echoing in the child’s mind were the words, “Remember the Dreaming, my friend, Remember the Dreaming”.

East Australian Current and fisheries adaptation to climate change

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To me, science at USC means getting to engage with the Australian marine science community by conducting fieldwork aboard Australia’s blue-water research vessel. This photo is from a recent voyage to the Southern Ocean aboard the RV Investigator, where we surveyed a submarine canyon and the physical oceanography of the Great Australian Bight. I took this photo from ‘Monkey Island’ - the top deck of the ship - when I was on-shift observing seabirds and marine mammals. Earlier in the day we were dealing with heavy rain, and predictably, there wasn’t much marine life to see. When the rain finally ended, we were graced with this huge rainbow on the bow of the ship. Almost on cue, a whole community of albatross, prions, and shearwaters revealed themselves and the seemingly empty ocean in front of us was teeming with life! The voyage's goal was to train postgraduate students in a variety of oceanographic at-sea field techniques, within the fields of sedimentology, micropaleontology, physical oceanography, hydrochemistry, plankton ecology, geophysics, and fauna identification. Now, I get to apply these skills to my PhD in quantitative marine ecology, where I’m looking at the East Australian Current and fisheries adaptation to climate change.

Animal ecology field work

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I took this photo of my friend during Animal ecology field work, where we were measuring invertebrate diversity in the lakes on campus. It was hilarious and there was a lot of screaming and laughing as she had to wade into smelly pond water in rubber waders. For us in ecology, this is what science is! It’s getting in, getting dirty, being a bit ridiculous and having a lot of fun to collect data.

USC Detection Dogs for Conservation

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USC Detection Dogs for Conservation after a day of training. The USC Detection Dogs for Conservation are rescue dogs that are specifically trained to facilitate our koala conservation research. They are trained to sniff out koala scats which helps us in determining koala habitat and gaining genetic information. This information is essential to effectively conserve koalas. Thanks to the dogs, we can now search large areas, perform high density sampling and are able to sensibly advise on koala conservation management. For my PhD, I collected hundreds of koala scat samples across South-East Queensland which wouldn't have been possible without the dogs. Detection dogs are a living and loving research "tool" that requires constant training, daily exercise and affection. Working with them can be challenging but even more so fun and rewarding.

Yoga representation

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My research involves the analysis of yoga representation on social media, and the examination of how idealised representations of yoga influence women's body image as well as their perceptions of the physical competence and health of the model. The placement of objects on the floor of my yoga room represents that the foundation of my research is my own personal yoga practice and my studies in human anatomy, physiology, and human behaviour. Yoga is a reflective practice which facilitates a greater connection to and understanding of both our inner and outer worlds. To me this mirrors the essence of scientific inquiry; the deep and relentless curiosity in the world combined with a sincere passion to find answers to the questions which define our time.

Saitis barbipes

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Saitis barbipes, probably a male looking at the size and shape of its pedipalps. This picture is a window in the many-faced world of Science. Indeed, this shot was made out of a will to share and inform about a real, yet invisible world living right in front of us. Combining Physics, Engineering, Biology, Animal behaviour and a lot of patience, taking such photograph demanded a vast array of skills and knowledge, along with rigorous planning. My photography is the reflection of my scientific way of thinking and of the scientific knowledge I acquire as time pass. Above all, this picture, along all the others I made, is a way to tell the world this scientific story, and hopefully encourage people to do the same.

Farmer in food garden in Fiji

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The idyllic setting of a remote village in the Pacific. Lush vegetation surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Underneath all the peace and beauty there is a story of changing tides. Risks posed by a changing climate threaten the livelihoods of many people in the Pacific. Improving climate change adaptation strategies is crucial to sustain livelihoods in the Pacific, making sure these beautiful landscapes and the lives of people who inhabit them thrive in an uncertain and changing climate.

Saving Sun Bears

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The Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus), known as the ‘world’s forgotten bear’ is threatened by loss of habitat, poaching and the illegal pet trade. USC has a partnership with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah, Malaysia which has led to design students creating all the interpretive signage, PR students creating an adoption program, and animal ecology student conducting research. Sarah Pye has written the biography of Founder and Director, Dr Wong Siew Te, or ‘Papa Bear’ which will be submitted as part of her Doctor of Creative Arts. Sarah took this photo of a bear called Montom, while conducting an ethnography as part of her narrative non-fiction research. Her book will be published in 2020.


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The Green Iguana is considered a major pest species and are found in abundance in Southern Florida. Regardless, it does not take away from this animals beauty. The Special Field Studies Topic (ENS333 offered by USC allowed us to explore the regions of Miami Keys and the Everglades to study the locomotion mechanics of the Green Iguanas and Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas. The region was profuse in biodiversity (for the most part they were introduced animals), and ranged from Critically Endangered Key Deer to peacocks and Floridian Black Bears bounding across the roads. This research trip (one of many offered) truly allowed us to experience the variety of practical techniques and methods which we will use in future years after graduating which, in my opinion is the best type of education.

Terms and conditions

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2019 National Science Week Photography Competition Terms and Conditions


  1. The University of the Sunshine Coast ABN 28 441 859 157 (USC) is the Promoter.
  2. The Promoter is running the USC 2019 National Science week with the competition “Seeing the Big Picture: Celebrating and Sharing Science through Photography”.
  3. Entrants must submit a photograph which addresses the theme. Entries should be accompanied by a short caption no longer than 200 words.
  4. Each Photo Entry must:
    • be an original photography;
    • be submitted as a high resolution (>10MP) image;
    • be submitted via an acceptable file format (JPEG);
    • Include an accompanying title and summary as caption using the text box available on the website no longer than 200 words. The caption should briefly describe basic information needed to understand the photography and its relationship to science and/or how the photo represents the theme.
  1. Entry into the Competition will be deemed as acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  2. The Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend all or any part of the Competition without notice for any event that is outside of the Promoter’s reasonable control. Any changes to, or cancellation of, the Competition will be posted on the Promoter’s website ( It is the responsibility of entrants to keep themselves informed as to any such changes.
  3. If, due to circumstances beyond the Promoter’s control, the integrity or administration of the Competition is adversely affected, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion:
    • to disqualify any participant; or
    • to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the Competition, as appropriate.
  1. In the event of any dispute regarding the conduct or results of the Competition, or any other matter relating to the Competition, the decision of the Promoter shall be final and unchallengeable and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into, comment issued, or reason given in respect of any decision made by the Promoter.
  2. The Promoter reserves the right at any time to change these Terms and Conditions.
  3. The Promoter may use any personal information that an entrant provides with their Entry for the purposes of the Competition, and for marketing purposes including the distribution of regular email updates or newsletters. Any personal information relating to entrants will be used in compliance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld), and as per the Promoter’s Information Management Framework - Governing Policy.
  4. The Promoter may use, reproduce and disclose photographs of entrants and their Entries (as defined below) for use in promotional and marketing materials, publications and/or on its website and other social media platforms. Entrants acknowledge and accept that they are not entitled to any payment for the Promoter’s use of their image or that of the Photo Entry (as defined below).
  5. These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of Queensland. If any of these Terms and Conditions are or become invalid, at the Promoter’s option, the relevant part is severed, and doesn’t affect the validity of the remaining parts.
  6. Any questions or concerns arising in relation to the interpretation of these Terms and Conditions may be raised by emailing the Promoter at

Liability and Indemnity

  1. Except for any liability that cannot be excluded by law, the Promoter (including its officers, employees and agents) excludes all liability (including negligence), for any personal injury; or any loss or damage (including loss of opportunity) whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising in any way out of the Competition, including, but not limited to, where arising out of the following:
    • any technical difficulties or equipment malfunction (whether or not under the Promoter’s control);
    • any theft, unauthorised access or third party interference;
    • any entry or prize claim that is late, lost, altered, damaged or misdirected (whether or not after their receipt by the Promoter) due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter;
    • any variation in prize value to that stated in these Terms and Conditions;
    • any tax liability incurred by a winner or participant; or
    • use of the prize.
  1. Each participant indemnifies and keeps indemnified the Promoter against all claims, losses, damages and expenses suffered by the Promoter or any third parties arising out of the breach of these Terms and Conditions by the participant, the conduct of the participant in the Competition, the use of the prize or any loss or damage to a Photo Entry.

Competition Entry

  1. Registration for the Competition opens at 9am AEST on Monday 15 July 2019 and ends at midnight AEST Wednesday 7 August 2019.
  2. Entry into the Competition is via web form at
  3. Entry into the Competition is only open to students currently enrolled at USC who hold Australian citizenship or a valid student visa.
  4. The following persons are ineligible to enter the Competition:
    • any person not currently enrolled as a student at USC; and
    • staff members of the Promoter (unless also currently enrolled as a student).
  1. Entrants must provide their USC student ID number and the course they are studying.
  2. Entries are deemed to be received at the time of receipt by the Promoter not at the time of transmission by the entrant.
  3. No responsibility is taken by the Promoter for late, lost or misdirected entries.
  4. There is no fee to enter the Competition, but entrants are responsible for all the costs associated with preparing their entry.
  5. By entering the Competition, entrants hereby warrant that all information submitted in an entry is true, accurate and complete in every respect.
  6. The Promoter reserves the right, at any time to verify the validity of entries and the eligibility of entrants (including an entrant’s identity) and to disqualify any entrant who:
    • submits an Entry that is not in accordance with these Terms and Conditions;
    • submits an Entry that contains any objectionable content, or has the potential to damage the reputation of any person or the Promoter;
    • tampers with the entry process;
    • displays misconduct or the mistreatment of wildlife in any way during any stage of this Competition; or
    • does not comply with these Terms and Conditions.
  1. Failure by the Promoter to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.

Competition Rules

  1. The Competition is open to individual entries only, no group entries will be considered valid.
  2. Entrants must only submit a maximum of one (1) Photo Entries in this Competition.
  3. Entrants must have obtained permission from all persons appearing in their Photo Entries (if applicable) to enter this Competition using them as a subject within the Photo Entries.
  4. Entrants warrant that their Photo Entry, and its use by the Promoter, will not infringe the rights (including intellectual property rights) of any third party.
  5. Incomplete, indecipherable or illegible Photo Entries will be deemed to be invalid by the Promoter in its sole discretion.
  6. By entering the Competition, entrants agree to grant to the Promoter a world-wide, non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable and transferrable licence to use the intellectual property rights (including copyright) in the entrants’ Design Entries for the purposes of:
    • conducting the Competition;
    • ongoing educational purposes;
    • use in future marketing and/or promotional material; and
    • use in the Promoter’s 2020 Student Diary.
  1. Failure to adhere to the Competition Rules may result in disqualification, which will be at the absolute discretion of the Promoter.

Judging of Design Entries and Prize

  1. The Photo Entries will be judged on Friday 16 August 2019 between the hours of 9.00am-12.00pm AEST by a pre-determined panel of judges as selected by the Promoter in its sole discretion.
  2. The Initial Panel will judge the quality and creativity of the entrant’s Photo Entry as it relates to the Theme and select finalists (in their absolute discretion). The following criteria will be used to judge the entries:
    • How well the image and accompanying caption capture the viewer’s attention and interest.
    • How well the image and accompanying caption reflect aspects of scientific work and practice including, but not limited to, research design, methodology, fieldwork, lab work, creative artefact, collaboration.
    • How well the image and accompanying caption articulate the student’s scientific practice and/or process.

A ‘people’s choice’ vote will also take place. The photograph with the highest number of votes, will receive a ‘people’s choice award’. Photo Entries will be published on the Promoter’s website ( from Tuesday 12 August 2019 to Thursday 15 August 2019 and open for voting to students currently enrolled at USC and who hold Australian citizenship or a valid student visa. Votes will be collected and counted (automatically) using a form available at the Promoters Website.

  1. The Promoter will notify the entrants of the location that the prize will be announced, being Friday 15 August during a public event at the Sippy Downs Campus on Monday 19 August 2019. This is will done by posting the location of the public event to announce winners on the Promoter’s website ( and social media platforms. It is the responsibility of entrants to keep themselves informed as to any such notifications.
  2. Prize: The prize winner’s Photo Entry may (at the Promoter’s sole discretion) be displayed at USC campuses in posters and publications and at the Promoter’s website and social media.
  3. The prize winner does not have to be present at the public event announcing winners to be eligible to win the prize.
  4. The Promoter will use reasonable efforts to notify the prize winner within seven (7) days after the public event announcing winners, using the email address or phone number provided by the entrant at the point of entry.
  5. If the prize is unavailable, the Promoter, in its absolute discretion, reserves the right to substitute the prize with a prize of similar value and/or specification.
  6. The Promoter’s decision as to the prize winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to the outcome of the Competition or otherwise.
  7. The Promoter may, but is not obliged, to publish the results of the Competition. Unless otherwise advised by the entrant, by entering this Competition, entrants agree to the Promoter publishing their name and image on the USC website (, social media platforms and associated websites.
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