By Lori Bosworth
This spring, the Ontario Science Centre is screening Coral Reef Adventure, which documents the expeditions of ocean explorers and filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall as they bring attention to endangered coral reefs. The film makes a great option for things to do during March Break in Toronto. Torontonicity was invited to a screening of the IMAX film at the Ontario Science Centre’s Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX Theatre.
Coral Reef Adventure begins in Australia as the Halls explore the Great Barrier Reef and the change in the coral reef, brought upon by global warming. As the seawaters warm, coral expels the algae living in its tissue, causing it to go white or become bleached.
After Australia, the Halls continue their 10-month expedition, exploring the coral reefs of Fiji and Rangiroa atoll.
The photography in Coral Reef Adventures is stunning, capturing the gorgeous coastlines and underwater footage of the Halls as they navigate endangered coral reefs. The Halls take huge risks on their dives, diving so deep (350 feet) at one location that their accompanying safety divers must stay many metres above and Howard Hall becomes gravely ill following one dive. On their journey, the Halls meet with scientists including Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau) and deep reef ichthyologist Richard Pyle who are working towards a greater understanding of coral ecosystems.
The visually stunning film is enhanced by a soundtrack featuring songs written and recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Why Are Coral Reefs at Risk?
1) Global warming has caused waters to warm, which results in coral reefs expelling the algae in its tissue;
2) Overfishing has resulted in a lack of fish near coral reefs, which means there are no fish around to eat the seaweed that smothers coral ecosystems;
3) Coral mining has resulted in a reduction in coral reefs;
4) Pollution of our seas increases the risk of coral reefs dying.
Why Should We Be Concerned About Coral Reefs?
- Coral reefs provide shelter to many marine organisms, as well as a habitat for fish to spawn. If fish cannot hide in coral ecosystems, they are more prone to predation from sharks;
- Coral reefs protect coastlines from damage resulting from tropical storms;
- Coral reefs provide jobs to local areas as a result of tourism;
- Coral reefs are a source of new medicines to treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases.
Coral Reef Adventure is being screened at the OMNIMAX Theatre at the Ontario Science Centre at 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto, 416-696-1000. You can purchase tickets online.