Shortlist, Underwater Galaxy by Songda Cai
"The pelagic world - the childhood home of marine life - is fascinating. Tiny zooplankton and fish larva drift in the open ocean forming the base of a food chain, which supports marine ecosystems. Most of my dive time is spent offshore in the spectacular night sea searching for tiny critters. Animal life that comes out at night is mind-boggling, but we know more about the moon than we do about our oceans.
My respect for nature is what motivates me to jump into the pitch-black water. I have a true passion for capturing the natural world through photography, and enjoy sharing what I find with others. However, spending time in the water makes me aware of all the pollutants we expose it to, from plastic straws and microbeads to plastic bags.
It surprises me how little people know about zooplankton and its habitats - they seem to care more about macro marine life such as s sharks, dolphins and whales. Nobody really knows the consequences of this continued pollution of the food chain yet. What would an ocean be without zooplankton lurking in the dark? For me, it would be like sleep without dreams."