Awarded a photograph by researcher Roberto García Roa showing the infection of a fungus in an insect

The story of a conquest , overall winner image of the BMC Ecology and Evolution

The story of a conquest , overall winner image of the BMC Ecology and Evolution photo contest. Photo: Roberto García Roa.

Roberto García Roa, researcher at the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology of the University of Valencia until August, and currently at the University of Lund (Sweden), is the overall winner of the BMC Ecology and Evolution photographic award. García Roa has developed part of his professional career in Valencia as a researcher in the Ethology Laboratory and during this period he has obtained important awards from entities such as the Royal Society and the British Ecological Society. Some of his images have been published in prestigious magazines such as National Geographic.

The contest, the result of which was published in August, was awarded to García Roa’s image The story of a conquest, which shows a parasitic fungus emerging from the body of a fly, which he had previously infected. The scene was captured in the Peruvian Jungle of Tambopata. The BMC Ecology and Evolution photo contest annually receives the participation of researchers from all over the world, who show their work on nature and the growing need to protect it from the human impact on Earth.

As Roberto García Roa explains in the BMC Ecology and Evolution magazine, "the spores of the so-called zombie fungus (for example, of the genus Ophiocordyceps) infect arthropods by passing through their exoskeleton. As a result, the hosts of the parasite, usually insects and arachnids, are forced to migrate to a more favourable place for the growth of the fungus. Here, they await death, at which point the fungus feeds on its host to produce spore-filled fruiting bodies to infect more victims; a battle shaped by thousands of years of evolution".

Annex photo caption:

- Researcher Roberto García Roa.

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