Pictures: stunning sealife

These are the spectacular underwater images from photographer Jurgen Freund, who spent 18 months in the Coral Triangle capturing some of the most beautiful marine life known to man. The triangle encompasses the coastline of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and is home to a rich variety of sea life including whale sharks, turtles and seahorses.

Jurgen shared the amazing photos with environment protection campaigners WWF to highlight how you don't have to be a round the world underwater photographer to appreciate the beauty of our underwater world, one which is increasingly at risk amid climate change and increased pollution. Take a closer look at the extraordinary photos below....

The Blue Mile encourages people to take part in sponsored events covering a mile in or by water on 4 September to raise funds to conserve our amazing and beautiful marine and freshwater environment. Read more about the WWF's Blue Mile here.

ABOVE: Sea stars (Asteroidea) in sea grass meadow. Indo-Pacific Ocean.

ABOVE: Yellow Shortfin lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus) face. Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 25 September 2009

ABOVE: Baby green turtle (Chelonia mydas) hatchling swimming to the sea still in the shallows of the beach. Anano Island, Wakatobi, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. 7 November 2009

ABOVE: A Hippocampus Kuda Seahorse in the Indo-Pacific Ocean

ABOVE: Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) seen from underwater with snorkler in the Indo-Pacific Ocean

ABOVE: Friant's Sea Star (Nardoa frianti) on a coral, New Britain, Papua New Guinea

ABOVE: Diver with Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Tubbataha Reef, Sulu Seas, Palawan, Philippines

ABOVE: Masked butterfly fish (Chaetodon semilarvatus) group swimming above coral. Red Sea.

ABOVE: Mating turtles in the shallows