These underwater photos will change the way you see the ocean

An Earth Day celebration wouldn’t be complete without a captivating peek into the mysterious depths of our planet’s most species-rich yet mysterious ecosystem: the ocean.

From alien-like pelagic squid to spooky mantis shrimp, the winners of the 2015 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest do not disappoint.

Photographers from across the globe submitted thousands of breathtaking ocean photographs to this prestigious competition, which was developed and produced by the Underwater Photography Guide.

The organisation announced winners of this year’s contest on January 6.

Check out our 40 favourites (chosen from the 75 winning photographs) below. They’re absolutely stunning.

Photographer Christian Gloor lit this tiny mantis shrimp from below to give it a spooky look in the waters of Air Bajo III, Indonesia.

Ocean Art Contest

A school of Starry Toado Pufferfish make their way to shelter in the Maroro Bay waters off the coast of Northland New Zealand.

Ocean Art Contest

A frisky young California sea lion flirts with the camera in Landing Cove near Santa Barbara Island in California.

Ocean Art Contest

This shot of the jellyfish Rhizostoma pulmo in the waters of Forte dei Marmi, Italy snagged first place in the 'Wide-angle' category.

Ocean Art Contest

A fluorescent Tube Anemone, Cerianthus, in Noli, Italy.

Ocean Art Contest

Photographer Brian Christiansen shot this back lit profile of a dolphin while swimming with a giant pod of them in Deshaies, Guadeloupe.

Ocean Art Contest

Dolphins and sea birds feast on a school of sardines as the fish migrate along the coast of South Africa.

Ocean Art Contest

A male seahorse recovers lost eggs from his pouch, which he will carry for up to 45 days before the babies develop and emerge.

Ocean Art Contest

Source: Seahorseworlds.com

A male jawfish broods a throng of eggs in its mouth in the waters of Anilao in the Philippines.

Ocean Art Contest

A female striated frogfish releases a raft of eggs for the male to fertilize in Blue Heron Bridge in Lake Worth Lagoon in Florida.

Ocean Art Contest

A small filefish pokes out of the soft coral in the waters of Mactan, Cebu in the Philippines.

Ocean Art Contest

A diver examines the grooves that pock an underwater iceberg in Disco Bay, Greenland.

Ocean Art Contest

A young Wood Turtle poses on a rock in a creek in Pennsylvania.

Ocean Art Contest

A brilliantly coloured sea slug -- Felimare picta -- rests on the north coast of the Balearic island Minorca in Punta den Siulet.

Ocean Art Contest

A pod of Pilot whales swim with photographer Greg LeCoeur in Nice, France.

Ocean Art Contest

Two young sea lions get into a playful tiff near Hornby Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Ocean Art Contest

Francesco Pacienza won first place in the 'Conceptual' category for this image of him 'painting' an Axinella sponge under the waters of Santa Maria al Bagno in Apulia, Italy.

Ocean Art Contest

A skeleton shrimp poses for a super close-up photoshoot with photographer So Yat Wai in Tulamben, Indonesia.

Ocean Art Contest

A collection of baby clownfish 'look like tiny shards of glass with big eyes,' photographer Lynn Wu says. This image was taken in Anilao, Philippines.

Ocean Art Contest

This fish got trapped in a fishing net.

Ocean Art Contest

Photographer Jack Berthomier snapped this Tylosorus crocodulis fish chomping on a smaller fish while freediving in Ouemo Bay in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Ocean Art Contest

A curious young sea lion gives photographer Stephen Holinski a playful hug before swimming away near Hornby Island in Canada.

Ocean Art Contest

Photographer Sarah Teveldal shot this conceptual photograph of an underwater mermaid tea party in a pool 12 feet deep. All props and scenery were anchored down with fishing line and fishing weights.

Ocean Art Contest

A large, cold water 'deeplet sea anemone' sits in the The Oslo Fjord in Norway.

Ocean Art Contest

A playful grey seal smiles at a diver off Farnes Island in the UK.

Ocean Art Contest

A pink-eared mantis shrimp carries, protects, and keeps a mass of eggs on her front appendages clean in the waters of Lembeh Strait in Indonesia.

Ocean Art Contest

A female humpback whale nears diver Gustavo Verzoni just 24 hours after her calf was hunted and killed by a pair of orcas.

Ocean Art Contest

An American crocodile nears the surface to breathe, but not without a smile, in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba.

Ocean Art Contest

A squid on a night swim in Anilao Pier, Philippines.

Ocean Art Contest

Photographer Uri Magnus Dotan snapped this conceptual image of a diver finding sunken treasure about 20 feet under the surface of the Red Sea in Eilat, Israel.

Ocean Art Contest

A massive sunfish in Crystal Bay, Indonesia floats up from the deep to rid itself of parasites. They do this by inviting fish and birds to snap them off their skin, or by splashing around on the surface to shake them off.

Ocean Art Contest

A stingless golden jellyfish floats around The Jellyfish Lake in Palau. They have evolved there for thousands of years.

Ocean Art Contest

A pregnant black tip shark swims over photographer Lauric Thiault in La Vallée Blanche, French Polynesia.

Ocean Art Contest

A hungry California sea lion is forced to eat a sunfish because warmer waters from El Niño are causing their normal prey to move north.

Ocean Art Contest

An alien-like colourful pelagic squid in the pitch-black waters of Palau.

Ocean Art Contest

This jawfish broods a mouthful of eggs in Tulamben, Indonesia.

Ocean Art Contest

It took photographer Daniel Copeland an hour to get this calm split shot of the coral-dotted Ras Mohammed National Park in the Egyptian Red Sea.

Ocean Art Contest

Black tip sharks and stingrays swarm the waters of Moorea, French Polynesia.

Ocean Art Contest

Giant Australian Cuttlefish aggregate in the shallow waters and rocky outcrops of Whyalla in South Australia to breed and deposit the next generation of cuttlefish.

Ocean Art Contest

This image of a larval cusk eel -- which, according to the contest has maybe never been photographed before -- won photographer Jeff Milisen the best in show award.

Ocean Art Contest

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