Story

Biodiversity

Published Mar 28, 2014 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 24 Contributors

    24 photos selected by

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    A Clown Frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) rests on its pectoral fins next to a stalked tunicate (O...

    #sea_squirt #ascidian #frogfish

    How much life can you find around you? Apparently quite a lot if the 15,672 pictures submitted for the Biodiversity assignment are any indication. I started looking at the images while I was working on a biological survey of Tetiaroa Atoll in French Polynesia, then looked at the next group of images while in Bermuda, where we were starting a survey of Nonsuch Island. 

    I saw everything from elephants—mammals that are considerably bigger than we are—to an amphipod, a tiny arthropod scarcely bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Creatures of the air like birds, butterflies, and moths were also in great abundance, as were creatures of the sea, from urchins, sharks, and sponges to tunicates, coral, jellyfish, and nudibranchs.

    I applaud those of you that have attempted to show a community of creatures, including several species in one picture. I know from years of experience that this is a lot easier to say than it is to do. Nature loves to hide, and so I find that as soon as you have three or four different things in the picture and the edges of things start to overlap, it can get hard to see individuals. 

    Found this strange net which had trapped more than 100 worms the size of caterpillars in a park i...

    #park #net #worms #florida #food #nature

    Editor's Note

    Dear Rekha, From what I know the creatures are Tent Caterpillars and they are starting to disperse. I like the abundance and the context that are shown in the picture. Thank you, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    There is an ethereal, otherworldly feeling to this photograph, as this little island in the middl...

    #landscape #island #water #nature #wild #clouds #lake #reflection #sky #senseofplace #trees

    Reed frog blending in with water lily awaits his meal of flies- botswana

    #flies #reed #frog #camouflage #botswana #nature

    I didn't know how wild this animal was until I saw it on my computer , it was in my back yard. !!...

    #animal #landscape #spider #biodiversity #themoment #nature #macro #greatnature

    Editor's Note

    Dear Cheryl, Thank you for getting down to the scale in which most of the world's diversity lives. The insight into the spider's vision and that they have "new eyes to see" each night is fascinating. This picture and the story will stick in my mind. Best, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    Close up of some mushrooms I saw on a tree trunk. I found the light and setting a bit magical and...

    #mushroom #denmark #closeup #blue #fungus #nature #macro #fairytale #light

    Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae.) The plant is Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy.

    #butterfly #pierisrapae #cabbagewhite

    An underwater small 8x10 inch section of the Frederiksted pier in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands....

    #usvi #stcroix #frederiksted #biodiversity #pier

    Editor's Note

    Dear Adrian, Very nice colors. I am interested to know if the saturation has been enhanced. I have seen many very brightly colored assemblages of such things but not the bright blue. Best, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    I also have a personal affinity for photographing individuals as a way to portray biological diversity: All the pieces fit together, ecosystems/habitats are made up of the species that inhabit them, and those species are made up of individuals. 

    The spectacle of abundance was also part of the diversity that many chose to share. Abundance is often critical to the maintenance of diversity.    

    This is a Triple Fin Blenny on Coral in the Caribbean Sea off of the Coast of New Providence. Th...

    #triplefinblenny #underwaterphotography #sea #ocean #water #scubadiving #nature #wild #blenny #fish

    Squat Anemone Shrimp

    #animal #sea #nature #shrimp #underwater

    The depth, temperature of water and the current bringing nutrients make it an ideal environment f...

    #natgeo #azim #salt #biodiversity #water #maldives #coral #musthag #underwater #people

    Oppression, interaction, collaboration.In the life cycle of nature nothing is lost, but the coexi...

    #locusts #man #coexistence #nature

    Editor's Note

    Dear Michele, I have never seen a Locust swarm. Thank you for this glimpse. From the abundance shown I can imagine the sound and maybe guess at the devastation left in the wake of so many mouths. Truly a spectacle to witness but as you remind us sometimes difficult. Best regards, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    The plant life that is growing inside Hang Son Doong, the world's largest cave, are phenotypic va...

    #plantlife #sondoong #cave #vietnam #plant

    A Park bench in the middle of the Forest, in a few years it will be a part of the Forest!

    #landscape #trees #green #plants #nature #florest

    Mantis religiosa (European mantis)

    #mantis

    Editor's Note

    Dear Simon, This is a very elegant Mantis with its shapely abdomen. And I imagine that its eyes tracked you as you moved. This kind of apparent mutual regard makes me wonder how we are perceived by other creatures. Thank you, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    Fishing boats were arriving to the beach, so lots of seagulls were flying above. This kid was hav...

    #sun #portugal #beach #happiness #animals #biodiversity #home #summer #water #fun #seagull #people

    Glass Bottle Litter, Plumb Beach in Brooklyn

    #beach #recycing #garbage #seaweed

    Norwegian mountain flora with glacier arm in background in a small village called Finse.

    #white #snow #finse #mounatain #biodiversity #norway #flora

    Noticed this hummingbird in a tree not far from our home. Used telephoto and was surprised to se...

    #expecting #hummingbird #nest #mom

    Editor's Note

    Dear Jimer, Thank you for the view of this lovely nest made of diversity. The blue feather, who is that from? It looks like a few species of lichen and bits of leaf litter all wrapped/bound with spider webs. Very elegant. Best regards, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    You can discover a complete world on a stone lichen. Macro work handheld.

    #photobiont #lichen #fungus #macro #lichens

    Editor's Note

    Dear Xavier, Do you have a RAW file for an original. I would suggest trying to hold a little more shadow detail for the small moss on the right side of the image. Best, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    In the Chilean rainforests, the air humidity is extremely high so every surface is covered in mos...

    #chile #beetle #weevil #rainforest #moss #macro

    Editor's Note

    Dear Ales, As you note there is a lot more that just the weevil. Have you seen the inhabitants of... More

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    Buabeng-Fiema is a village in Ghana where these monkeys are protected and adored by the local peo...

    #motherandchild #monkeybabies #monkey #africa #ghana

    A jumping spider with a water droplet on its head. Taken with Nikon D5100 and Nikkor lens with a...

    #spider #biodiversity #nature #macro

    Snorkelling at Hideaway Island in Vanuatu, I posted my letter in the underwater post office box a...

    #swim #fish #travel #biodiversity #ocean #snorkel #underwater

    Editor's Note

    Dear Angela, This portrayal of diversity made me smile too. We are all just a bunch of animals. Thank you, David

    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer

    I found that on many occasions I started to see something I had never seen before. It is a great privilege to participate in the beauty of the natural world.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures with us.

    About the Editor
    David Liittschwager
    National Geographic Photographer
    David Liittschwager is a freelance photographer who, after working with Richard Avedon in New York in the '80s, left advertising to focus on portraiture and natural history. Now a regular contributor to National Geographic, Liittschwager has produced a number of books. Among his many honors is a World Press Photo ...
    164 comments
    Jacques C Pelletier
    Jacques C Pelletier

    This was a really inspiring section of NG.

    I just wonder why I did get a message in my "Notifications" though ... perhaps you added a few more comments ?

    Not sure but I enjoyed seeing the published stories/photos.


    I assume you will be back with some more like those?


    Cheers!


    JP

    Santiago Belaunzaran
    Santiago Belaunzaran

    David, I love how your comments go directed to the person. Its feels so stimulating and intimate. Congrats to everybody!

    SHINU V
    SHINU V

    Focused photos....

    Really Great... :) HARD WORK n Patience :)

    rakesh rakesh
    rakesh rakesh

    i dont have camera thats  y cant upload photos

    Santosh Pratim Bhuyan
    Santosh Pratim Bhuyan

    Simply superb (y) It's a pleasure to see so many amazing snaps from around the globe... So beautiful, so colorful :)

    Maria Moran
    Maria Moran

    amazing photos!!!  they look unreal!!

    Probir Sinharoy
    Probir Sinharoy

    What a collection !! Waiting to see more in the future.

    hemant paul
    hemant paul

    These pictures are good lesson for me . Thanks to all winner and the editor .

    Parth Patel
    Parth Patel

    congratulations to all winner.........

    all shots are awesome......

    Abdul barrie
    Abdul barrie

    awesome pics!! congo...there is no single winners...but all..

    S. Singh
    S. Singh

    congratulations to all the winners.......awesome photos.....great work.....:)

    Anu Prasanth
    Anu Prasanth

    Congratulations to the winners, awesome shots! 

    Emanuel  Cortis
    Emanuel Cortis

    I admire the diversity of life. Many of us never realise the hidden beauty of nature .

    Bimalendu Samanta
    Bimalendu Samanta

    no words... each and every  selection is awesome............

    Francisco Soares
    Francisco Soares

    It was a stop on my troubled afternoon. amazing photos! Thank you.

    Barbara K.
    Barbara K.

    Congratulations to the Winners, awesome shots, I'm inspired by your talent;)

    Jimer DeVries
    Jimer DeVries

    Thank you so much David for choosing my photo to add to all these wonderful photographers.  The mother hummingbird deserves all the credit for her beautiful creation.  I was just lucky to have seen it and taken 5 very quick photos.  Sadly, the mama hummingbird was located by some predator birds a week after the shot and they ate the baby hummingbirds, as well as destroyed part of the nest.  It broke my heart.  Such is nature, although very hard to witness sometimes.  

    David, can you tell me how long the Biodiversity story will be up on the net? 

    Cleve Geddes
    Cleve Geddes

    Great pictures.

    Good to see life around the world.

    Lucienne Morin
    Lucienne Morin

    Amazing and Gorgeous shots!!! Greats choices David!!!

    Alissa Jade
    Alissa Jade

    It's not a small world after all! It gets bigger with assignments such as this! Congratulations to all of the photographers. Thank you for letting us enjoy your views!

    Michael James
    Michael James

    All things bright and beautiful. All creatures great and small.Thanks David and all you guys for the visions which we rarely get to see, Regards. 

    Reka Fazekas
    Reka Fazekas

    I congratulate. Finally I see photos in the final what I like as well. Thank you for having a good eye and judgment David Liittschwager.

    Vishal B.
    Vishal B.

    Nice shots shared by all.. i congratulate all of your and thanks for sharing..

    Victor Rivera
    Victor Rivera

    You can never underestimate what simple, everyday things can offer our perspective. You have to look closer to appreciate them.  

    Jim Lindstrom
    Jim Lindstrom

    I find this  a wonderful look at the world we live in. To stir it up a bit I would like to suggest a new rendition of the last photo of the people and the fish--strip the big ones of their suits and let them mingle naturally with their family.

    Peter Mecca
    Peter Mecca

    Awesome. I plan to share with my students.

    wilson ngobe
    wilson ngobe

    Wow what   a wonderful world.. It  is our duty to protect it for posterity.

    Andreas Karim
    Andreas Karim

    Great Photos - Congratulation Friends - wrgds

    Jimer DeVries
    Jimer DeVries

    @Victor Rivera - In regards to your comment, I can only say that I had NO idea the hummingbird nest I submitted to this assignment was so intricate when I took the photo.  It was only when I got the picture uploaded in my computer that I was amazed.  Yes, I agree, we all underestimate the amazing things around us.

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