Most of the world is water, and we humans miss out on a lot of the action that happens there.
Luckily, photographers across the globe dive with their cameras to document the creatures we don’t get to see. The Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition has recognized their best work for the last eight years.
The most recent round of awards showcase the beauty and drama of marine life, from playful sea lions to fish that seek shelter in the arms of jellyfish.
The contest’s judges reviewed thousands of images from 78 countries. They picked a first-place photo for each of the competition’s 16 categories, which award images that showcase various types of creatures or utilize certain photography techniques. The winning images reveal a twig full of baby seahorses, some masters of camouflage caught red-handed, and creatures trying (and sometimes failing) to live with garbage. Many of the runner-up images are just as stunning or bizarre, though.
Here are the 16 winning photos along with 16 of our other favorites from the contest.