Paul Nicklen's photographs of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica's Ross Sea for National Geographic magazine took first place in the Nature Stories category.
The Vancouver Island resident specializes in photographing polar regions and has won top honours in the same category before.
World Press Photo, one of photojournalism's most prestigious contests, issued awards Friday in nine categories to 54 photographers of 32 nationalities.
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen won the photo of the year award for newspaper Dagens Nyheter with a picture of the funeral procession for two Palestinian children killed in an Israeli missile strike.
The picture shows a group of men marching the dead bodies through a narrow street in Gaza City. The victims, a brother and sister, are wrapped in white cloth with only their faces showing.
The contest drew entries from professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers across the world. In all, 103,481 images were submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries.
An awards ceremony and exhibit will be held in Amsterdam in April.
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