Palestinian sunbird feeding in Saudi
Palestinian sunbird feeding in Saudi Arabia Mohamed Shebl

The winners of the BMC Ecology Image Competition for 2015 have been announced. Some 32 photos have been chosen as the top entrants of the annual event, which is just in its third year.

A press release from BMC Ecology – a biomedical journal – read: "The BMC Ecology Image Competition gives ecologists across the globe the opportunity to share their perspective with the rest of the world.

Guest judge Ana Porzecanski, director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, said: "The set of winning images are a powerful snapshot of the beauty, the diversity, and the profound changes taking place in the biosphere of our planet today. One cannot help but marvel when faced with the intricacy of these ecological interactions - including those with human beings. The images were striking, inspiring, and in some cases, also sad and sobering."

However, the winning image (pictured above) was that of Mohamed Shebl, from Suez Canal University, Egypt, whose photograph is of a female Palestinian sunbird in Saudi Arabia delicately retrieving nectar from a thistle.

Shebl said: "I spent almost two days photographing these Palestinian sunbirds. I'm used to taking close photos of tiny bees, but I have never photographed birds before. This was a huge challenge for me, and I spent hours adapting myself for taking photos from far away. Although the Palestinian sunbird is larger than a bee, it is much faster, and therefore takes longer to get a good image."

IBTimes UK takes a look at some of the other top images from the awards.

1. Tie for runner-up - Greater Adjutant Stork in Guwahati City, India

Greater Adjutant Stork in Guwahati
The Greater Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilos dubius) is the world's most endangered stork species with an estimated total population of between 1,200 to 1,800 individuals. The Brahmaputra Valley is considered the last stronghold of this endangered stork and harbors more than 80% of the global population of the species. Dhritiman Das

2. Tie for runner up - Camponotus ant patrolling a young leaf in Brazil

Camponotus ant patrolling a young
Camponotus ant patrolling a young leaf of the plant Coccoloba cereifera. The young leaves have extrafloral nectaries, attracting the ants who in turn defend the leaves from herbivores. Daniel Wisbech Carstensen

3. Editor's pick - Juvenile Baboons

juvenile baboons
As one juvenile baboon (Papiosp.) eats, another inspects the food item Catherine Markham

4. Behaviour and Physiological Ecology category winner - Lampyridae beetle smelling in central Chile

Behaviorand Physiological Ecologycategory winner -Lampyridaebeetle
This beetle is a lampýridae from central Chile, and has some impressive antenna he usesto smell females. Bernardo Segura

5. Highly commended - Waterlilies in Madagascar

Highly commended -Waterlilies in Madagascar
Along a dirt road in western Madagascar stands a grove of baobab trees (Adansonia grandidieri) collectively known as baobab alley. Kathryn M. Everson

6. Highly commended - Playful bears in Pakistan

playful bears
The beauty of this picture reveals the playful and socially positive interaction between three Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) as they enjoy the warm heat of the sun in winter season. Kainaat William

7. Highly commended - Hippo and buffalo in Kenya

hippo and buffalo
While conducting research in the Masai Mara, Kenya,on the formation of mixed species groups, researchers spotted a hippo and buffalo sharing a rather small mud wallow. Neither species are well known for their tolerance but rather for being bad-tempered and aggressive. Graeme Shannon

8. Highly commended - Oriental Rat Snake near paddy field worker in Central Java, Indonesia

The photo shows an adult specimen in search for food close to a paddy field worker in Central Java (Indonesia). Since the early 20th century, the species has beeninvolved in the international skin industry. Mark Auliya

9. Highly commended - South Africa's long-tongue fly

The remarkable proboscis of South Africa's long-tongue fly (Prosoeca ganglbaueri) can attain lengths of over 50 mm. This specialist nectar-feeder is now the exclusive pollinator for over 20 species of long-tubed flower. Michael Whitehead

10. Highly commended - The threatened Nicaragua cross-banded tree frog

The threatened Nicaragua cross-banded tree
In certain parts of the world, such as Central America, this number may reach as high as halfof all amphibians. A major contributor to amphibian decline in these areas is a devastatingfungaldisease known as chytridiomycosis. The disease is highly infectious and human activity has greatly increased the spread of the fungus, which now occurs worldwide. Mark Spangler