|Contents / home|
|This viral ad may be contagious|
|A new sea view|
|75 years of coelacanth research|
|Sell your science at FameLab|
|Young science communicators show their mettle|
|Brazil nuts, bees and orchids|
|Winning design powers aeroplane|
|Journalists and scientists meet|
|Brainstorming solutions for tomorrow|
|Meet Sibongile Mokoena|
|SAIAB at Scifest Africa|
|A world in one cubic foot|
|Biodiversity Youth Symposium|
|Daveyton now has an eye to the sky|
|In the news|
|It's a fact!|
A world in one cubic foot
For his remarkable publication, A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity, Liittschwager took a bright green metal cube - measuring precisely one cubic foot (about 28 litres) - and set it in various ecosystems around the world, from Costa Rica to Central Park. Working with local scientists, he measured what moved through that small space in a period of twenty-four hours. He then photographed the cube's setting and the plant, animal and insect life inside it - anything visible to the naked eye.
The result is a stunning portrait of the amazing diversity that can be found in ecosystems around the globe. Many organisms captured in Liittschwager's photographs have rarely, if ever, been presented in their full splendour to the general reader, and the singular beauty of these images evocatively conveys the richness of life around us and the essential need for its conservation.
The breathtaking images are accompanied by essays that speak to both the landscapes and the worlds contained within them.
The publication gave rise to a spate of articles in the media. One of these, A world of life in a single cubic foot in British newspaper The Observer, gives the following account of Dr Slingsby's participation in the project:
Jasper Slingsby, a researcher at the South Africa Environmental Observational Network (SAEON), recorded life in a cubic foot of Table Mountain National Park in South Africa.
"In the course of 24 hours, the one cubic foot of mountain fynbos that we sampled revealed almost 30 plant species and roughly 70 invertebrates. But being stationary the cube could not capture what is arguably the most amazing component of fynbos diversity - how much it changes from location to location.
"If we picked the cube up and walked 10ft we could get as much as 50% difference in plant species we encountered. If we moved it uphill, we might find none of the species. There are multitudes of species many orders of magnitude smaller than the smallest mite we found. Indeed, it would take more than a lifetime simply to document the diversity of life in one cubic foot here. Even one cubic inch is a world worth contemplating," he wrote.