Luc Rooman
Last year's winner in the University of Miami contest captured two cuttlefish mating.
OurAmazingPlanet
updated 3/4/2011 3:34:27 PM ET 2011-03-04T20:34:27

The University of Miami is looking for your best amateur underwater photographs for its annual contest.

Not sure what to submit? There are still a few weeks left to plan the perfect sea creature photo. Last year’s winning photo captured two cuttlefish mating.

The contest is open to all amateur photographers who earn less than 20 percent of their income from photography. The photos must be original, unpublished work, but don't submit anything you've taken in your pool or at the aquarium — entrants must have dived into a freshwater or saltwater environment for their shots.

The contest was launched by the same people behind the University of Miami's publicly available Digital Atlas of Marine Species and Locations project.

The DAMSL project began when award-winning photographer Myron Wang donated his photographic collection to the school. The collection contains more than 5,000 images of fish, corals, invertebrates and other marine life. In sharing the photos, Wang's goal was to educate and inspire the general public about the rich underwater ecosystems throughout the globe, according to the project's website.

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The photographer and Nicole Wang, his wife and dive partner, helped create the contest in 2005 to promote the conservation of marine life. To give the photographers even more incentive, this year's top prize is a trip on Blackbeard’s Cruises, departing from Freeport, Bahamas. Photographers from around the world have entered more than 400 images each year. The contest is judged by a panel of marine photographers and professors.

Photographs are divided into three categories: fish or marine animal portrait, macro (short-range shots taken with macro lenses) and wide angle. Awards also will go to the best University of Miami student submission and the best overall submission.

The contest deadline is March 28. The winners will be announced during a lecture series April 20.

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