Behavioural and Physiological Ecology, Category Winner
This photograph was taken while the two male Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) were fighting over a harem of 127 females.
The photo is "a terrifically vibrant shot of two giant scarred, bloody, Southern Elephant Seal males fighting for access to females," says editor Nick Royle. "You can almost hear the roars of the combatants, and smell the blood, so well has this image captured the behavior.
"I love the mirrored symmetry of the males as they engage in their violently ritualized, almost choreographed, fighting; the male on the right of the shot fixing his rival with a gimlet eye as he looks to land a decisive blow. The picture is very well composed, with the gore-covered males with their red bibs contrasting sharply with the serenely bleak but beautiful backdrop. A nice final touch is the skua in the bottom right of the frame, seemingly taking a keen interest in the outcome. Or perhaps (s)he is the referee?"