Jury chair Roz Kidman Cox said it was a technical tour de force.
"We spent five years in this place, 3,000 hours of diving, to get this particular moment," Laurent said.
As well as celebrating WPY's Grand Prize, the French photographer also wins the competition's Underwater category.
Elsewhere, 10-year old Vidyun R Hebbar was awarded the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 award for Dome Home, a colourful image of a tent spider pictured near his home in the city of Bengaluru, in India, as a tuk-tuk passes by in the background.
The image is called Dome Home.
The winners of the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have been revealed at an online awards ceremony.
Adam Oswell wins the Photojournalism award for this picture which shows zoo visitors in Thailand watching a young elephant perform underwater.
Elephant tourism has increased across Asia.
In Thailand, there are now more elephants in captivity than in the wild.
Brent Stirton was awarded the Photojournalist Story Award.
His sequence of images profiles a rehabilitation centre caring for chimpanzees orphaned by the bushmeat trade in Africa.
this image shows the director of the centre sitting with a newly rescued chimp to others.
Stefano Unterthiner watches two Svalbard reindeer battle for control of a harem.
Watching the fight, Stefano said he felt immersed in "the smell, the noise, the fatigue and the pain".
Majed Ali trekked for four hours to meet Kibande, an almost-40-year-old mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda.
Road To Ruin by Javier Lafuente- Wetlands : The Bigger Picture winner Using a drone, Javier Lafuente, from Spain, captures the stark line of a road slicing through a wetland landscape, which is home to more than a hundred species of birds.
The road, constructed in the 1980s to provide access to a beach, divides the wetland in two.
This fishing spider is stretching out silk from its spinnerets to weave into its egg sac.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year annual exhibition at the NHM opens on Friday, 15 October, before touring across the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the US and more.
A shot of a rare underwater spawning that only takes place around a full moon once a year has been named as the winner of this year's Wildlife Photographer Of The Year competition.
dr doug gurr, director of the natural history museum said : "this year's grand title winner reveals a "fleeting moment of fascinating animal behaviour" that very few people have witnessed.
Selected from more than 50,000 entries from 95 countries, French underwater photographer and biologist Laurent Ballesta was announced as this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his enigmatic image, Creation, that captures camouflage groupers exiting their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Every year, for five years, Laurent and his team returned to this lagoon, diving day and night so as not to miss the annual spawning that only takes placearound the full moon in July.
Chairwoman of the judging panel, writer and editor Rosamund 'Roz' Kidman Cox, said : 'The image works on so many levels.
She added : "It also captures a magical moment- a truly explosive creation of life- leaving the tail-end of the exodus of eggs hanging for a moment like a symbolic question mark."
Overfishing threatens this vulnerable species, but here the fish are protected within a special biosphere reserve.
Natural History Museum director Dr Doug Gurr described Ballesta's image as a "compelling reminder of what we stand to lose if we do not address humanity's impact on our planet", and said that "the protection provided to this endangered species by the biosphere reserve highlights the positive difference we can make".
Amongst the category winners this year was Angel Fitor, bagging the Portfolio Award for his picture 'Face Off ', showing two adult male cichlid fish fighting jaw to jaw over a snail shell in Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
After dark, they were joined by hundreds of grey reef sharks, hunting the groupers in packs.
it is surprising, energetic and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty.
The two winners were chosen from 19 categories in total which aim to celebrate the natural world.
Stay up to date with our posts
Seamless Daily is an innovative news platform that is updated 24/7 to help you keep up to date with all the current events around the globe.
Our team of professional editors as well as our state-of-the-art artificial intelligence platforms ensure that our curation is accurate, fact-checked, and trustworthy.