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June 08 2011

Ocean2012 EU fisheries exhibition – in pictures

To mark the launch of the second annual European Fish Week, Ocean2012 will launch a photo and documentary exhibit at London zoo aquarium

November 09 2010

The world's best underwater photos

Gallery: Some of the winners from the Our World Under Water photography contest and the fourth annual Deep International Underwater photo competition

Sponsored post

January 25 2010

January 24 2010

All things bright and beautiful: What photographer found in one cubic foot

David Liittschwager's amazing images – featured in next month's National Geographic magazine – capture Earth's ecosystems as never before

Just how much life can you find in an ecosystem of one cubic foot? That is the question photographer David L­iittschwager set out to answer when he took a 12-inch metal frame to a range of different environments on land and in water, in tropical climes and temperate regions and began to chart the living organisms.

The answer? An astonishing amount. In each place he visited, the photographer, best known for his large images of rare animals and plants, was amazed at the diversity and abundance of life that passed through such a small area.

In five distinct and contrasting environments, from a tropical forest to a city-centre park, Liittschwager set down his green-edged metal cube, and started watching. Each creature that passed through the cube was counted and charted with the help of his assistant and a team of biologists. Over a three-week period the team photographed each inhabitant that passed through the cube, down to creatures measuring a mere millimetre.

In total, more than a thousand individual organisms were photographed, and the diversity of each environment can be seen on "It was like finding little gems," Liittschwager said.

The team started out at Central Park in New York – or more specifically, in the Hallet nature sanctuary, a 3.5-acre deciduous woodland area, populated with trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally. There they found the tufted titmouse and eastern grey squirrel, creatures as big as a raccoon and as small as a leopard slug.

In Moorea, in French Polynesia, they discovered a vast array of species (pictured) thought to only be a very small selection of the reef's full diversity. Among their findings were the inch-long file clam, the whitespotted boxfish, sacoglossan sea slug and the frankly terrifying post-larval octopus.

While in the tropical cloud forest of Monteverde, in Costa Rica, most of the animals in the treetop ecosystem were as small as a fingertip, there were hawk moths, sharpshooter leafhoppers and burio tree seeds.

The fine-leaved vegetation of the fynbos of Table Mountain in South Africa, thought to hold one of the richest concentrations of plant diversity in the world, revealed the purple flower of the alice sundew, and no shortage of cape zebra cockroaches. Finally, in the fresh water of Duck River in Tennessee, one of the most biodiverse waterways in the US, swam golden darters and longlear sunfish as well as the bigeyed chub. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

November 16 2009

Spotting talent

After years of campaigning, and much debate in parliament, we now have a Marine and Coastal Access Act. This is a truly momentous event for our marine life. As the new age of marine conservation dawns, we are still discovering new marine species. Last month divers discovered two types of sponge never before found in UK waters, one previously unknown to science. The new act is timely, providing the necessary legislation and tools to ensure they – and thousands more marine plants and animals – will be protected for the future. New legislation is only the beginning. The decisions made, and actions taken, over the next five years will determine whether the UK's seas will thrive again.

Michael Allen

Chairman, The Wildlife Trusts

• Since 1968 the Rembrandt research project in Amsterdam has been examining every painting attributed to Rembrandt in order to establish a definitive catalogue of his work (Anyone can learn to paint like Rembrandt, says Hirst, November 14). The four volumes so far include the category "Paintings Rembrandt's authorship of which cannot be positively either accepted or rejected". It is fairly clear that, at least in Rembrandt's time, a number of people were able to paint works that remain uncertainly distinguishable from those of the master.

Simon Wilson


• Anyone can learn to paint like Hirst.

Lewis Peake


• I once heard a new theatre-goer at the pantomime (Letters, 14 November). Cinderella's party invitation had been sitting on a mantelpiece, and when her wicked stepmother snatched it there was a gasp of consternation from the stalls. The silence was broken by a youthful Glaswegian cry of "Gie her it!" The actors must have loved it.

Peter Lowthian 

Marlow, Buckinghamshire

• The 100 years of great press photographs made me laugh and cry, made me angry, frustrated, happy, amazed. I do hope the series will be made into a book, so that I can look at these fantastic windows into our world whenever I want to. Thank you for stirring my emotions.

Gillian Beggs

Penrith, Cumbria © Guardian News & Media Limited 2009 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

June 17 2009

TERRA 517: Sealed Off!!! PART ONE

The beach known as The Children's Pool in La Jolla, California, has been a point of pride in the town for 75 years. Today almost no one goes there to swim, not since a pod of 200 harbor seals took up residence on the sand. Should La Jolla return the beach to use by people or make it a seal preserve? Sealed Off!!! takes a quirky look at this unusual controversy through the eyes of some of the people most intimately connected to it.
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