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National Geographic

The Things You'll Find In A Square Foot

There are so many critters and crawlers that we big, blundering humans fail to notice. That's why photographer David Liittschwager decided to zoom in on the little things. He placed a green metal frame measuring 1 cubic foot in various locations, and photographed as many organisms living in — or passing through — the cube as possible. The photos, which appear in the February issue of National Geographic magazine, show the amazing biodiversity you can find in even the most contained environments.

These photographs were made at Temae Reef off the Pacific island of Moorea in French Polynesia. Collaborating with scientists from the Moorea Biocode Project, a venture to inventory all non-microbial species on Moorea, Liittschwager photographed more than 600 creatures over the course of about three weeks. He also brought his green frame to Table Mountain, South Africa; Monteverde, Costa Rica; and Duck River, Tenn. You can see more of his photographs on Also, check out this video, which shows Liittschwager's process in New York City's Central Park.

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