US environmental group Ocean Conservancy has announced the results of their 2022 photo competition, and we are thrilled to share their winners with you. These images showcase the beauty of our oceans, but remind us of the threats that they face from pollution and climate change.

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The winner was a dramatic yet playful shot of a sea lion bursting through a group of sardines off the coast of Mexico. The winning photographer, Alexandra Rose, spent a long time under the water trying to get the shot she wanted. "I finally timed it correctly and positioned myself right in the thick of the fish and waited for her to pop through. I think she was a bit surprised to see me!"

Winners were also selected from four categories: Human Impact, Marine Wildlife, Ocean Stories, and Spectacular Seascapes.

Surprise - Judge's choice winner

A female sea lion ( Zalophus californianus) disrupts a school of sardines at Los Islotes, Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Photo by Alexandra Rose/Ocean Conservancy

Sea otter with discarded can - Honourable mention

Sea Otter tin can
A sea otter ( Enhydra lutris) plays with a tin can. Photo by Shane Keena/Ocean Conservancy

The end of the world - Spectacular seascapes category winner

Sunset over Montauk
A beautiful sunset over a lake at Montauk in Long Island, New York, USA. Photo by Kate McFadden/Ocean Conservancy

Fly ardea alba - Ocean stories category winner

A white heron (Ardea alba) takes flight over Hollywood beach in Cartagena, Columbia, in order to join the other birds circling fishermen, hoping to be thrown small fish or leftovers. Photo by Diana De La Vega/Ocean Conservancy

Rasta jelly - Marine wildlife winner

Large Rasta Jellyfish
A jellyfish, known locally as a 'Rasta jellyfish ( Thysanostoma loriferum), is photographed near Ningaloo Reef, Perth, Australia, surrounded by lots of different species of fish. Photo by Prue Wheeler/Ocean Conservancy

More images on Science Focus:

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The hunter's trash - Human impact winner

Seal with trash
A seal plays with a piece of plastic in its mouth, at Champion Islet, Galapagos Archipelago. Photo by Angela Farmer/Ocean Conservancy

Gag or throttle - Honourable mention

Chick holding fish
A young gull holding a piece of plastic that resembles a sardine. Photo by Carmen Cromer/Ocean Conservancy

Schooling jacks and turtle - Honourable mention

Schooling jacks and turtle
A green sea turtle ( Chelonia mydas) an endangered species, is framed by a circling school of bigeye jacks ( Caranx sexfasciatus) off the island of Bali, Indonesia. Photo by David Fleetham/Ocean Conservancy

Wisdom - Honourable mention

Sea turtle seabed
A female loggerhead turtle ( Caretta caretta) looking directly at the camera as she nestles in a comfy resting spot under the water. Photo by Ronald Missick/Ocean Conservancy

Larval pearl fish - Honourable mention

Larval Pearlfish
A beautiful larval pearl fish photographed during a blackwater dive off the East coast of Florida, USA. Photo by Rajiv Bhambri/Ocean Conservancy

Authors

James CutmorePicture Editor, BBC Science Focus

James Cutmore is the picture editor of BBC Science Focus Magazine, researching striking images for the magazine and on the website. He is also has a passion for taking his own photographs

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