Behind the Images - Moorea Biocode Project
UC Berkeley’s Moorea Biocode Project aims to create the first comprehensive inventory of all non-microbial life in a complex tropical ecosystem. Supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Moorea Biocode Project over the 2008-2010 period is sending researchers climbing up jagged peaks, trekking through lush forests and diving down to coral reefs to sample the French Polynesian island's animal and plant life. A library of genetic markers and physical identifiers for every species of plant, animal and fungi on the island is being constructed. This database will be publicly available as a resource for ecologists and evolutionary biologists around the world.
For the February 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine, photographer David Liittschwager crafted a one-foot-square metal cube and placed it in a range of ecosystems-land and water, tropical and temperate, freshwater and marine. Over several weeks at each location, Liittschwager and a team of biologists found, identified, and photographed creatures that passed through the cube. David wanted to a cubic foot of a coral reef, so he joined the Biocode team in June 2008 and placed his metal cube on the reef at Temae. The result was stunning, and Moorea's biodiversity is the highlight of his article in the current issue of National Geographic. More species and animals were found in Moorea's cubic foot than anywhere else he sampled! More information can be found on this by following this link: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/02/cubic-foot/wilson-text. The National Geographic [published a special report on "Island Life under the Microscope in Moorea" in February 2011.