<p>A pod of pilot whales turns to check out photographer Greg Lecoeur as he dives in the Mediterranean. "I was very lucky to find them," Lecoeur says.</p>

Pilot Whales

A pod of pilot whales turns to check out photographer Greg Lecoeur as he dives in the Mediterranean. "I was very lucky to find them," Lecoeur says.

Photograph by Greg Lecoeur

11 Incredible Pictures Reveal Hidden Underwater World

The winners of a recent underwater photo contest go deep.

A butter-yellow seahorse in motion, a crab in a nest of eggs, and a shark biting down on a turtle are all among the undersea sights captured by the winners of the 2016 Underwater Photographer of the Year contest.

This year’s competition drew 3,500 entries from 500 photographers in 54 countries. UPY London, which hosts the contest, awarded the top prize to Italian Davide Lopresti for “Gold,” his seahorse entry.

“I’ve always had a very close relationship with the sea,” says Lopresti, who became a full-time photographer two years ago after a career in ship design. His winning photo was shot in Sistiana Bay in the Gulf of Trieste, where the seahorse population is recently rebounding after years of decline.

“Our winners show scenes and subjects that most viewers have never seen before,” says lead judge Alex Mustard, a marine biologist and professional underwater photographer.

“Our ocean life is amazing,” says Dan Bolt, who took the crab photo featured in this gallery. “Just imagine how much more incredible it can become if we preserve, nurture and care for it.”

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