Here are Australia's best science photos for 2015

Soft Coral by Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.

The image above by the Queensland Museum’s Gary Cranitch has been awarded Australia’s top award for science photography, the New Scientist Eureka Prize presented by the Australian Museum.

It’s called Soft Coral.

Soft corals are more diverse and widespread than hard corals but less is known about their contribution to reef biodiversity.

READ NOW: Here’s the full list of Eureka Prize winners

About one-third of the world’s soft coral species are found on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

“Gary’s striking image highlights the need to understand the Great Barrier Reef’s often-ignored soft corals,” says Kim McKay, CEO of the Australian Museum.

This is Gary’s second year as a finalist and his first as the winner.

Taking out second place is Murdoch University’s Aileen Elliot with this photograph:

Thorny-Headed Worm

Thorny-Headed Worm by Murdoch University’s Aileen Elliot.

While dissecting a cyst from an eel tailed catfish, Tandanus tropicanus, Aileen Elliot was surprised when out popped this little worm (phylum Acanthocephala).

Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile by Justin Gilligan

Justin Gilligan got third place with this image of a saltwater croc he found when exploring the coral reefs of Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea.

The juvenile saltwater crocodile presented the perfect opportunity for a close encounter.

Now read The best Australian science photos of 2015

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.