24 May 50 Reefs
During the week of May 8 (pronounced in Australian as Mate!), the team from the Ocean Agency; Richard Vevers, Christophe Bailhache and Stephanie Roach joined us to gather footage and ideas for their ambitious project, 50 reefs. After their successful campaigns including the Google underwater streetview, the Catlin Seaview Survey, and featuring in a soon to be released documentary, Chasing Coral, their newest project along with a suite of collaborators is proposed as a global plan to save coral reefs! Ambitious as it may sound, they are coordinating a multifaceted approach of science, conservation and communication. It is supported by a unique philanthropic coalition of innovators in business, technology and government, led by Bloomberg Philanthropies with The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
The first part of the project is to determine which 50 reefs in the world may be least vulnerable to climate change, and also have the greatest capacity to repopulate other reefs over time. This will be determined through a meta-analysis of existing data and coordinated by the Global Change Institute and The Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions at The University of Queensland. Although we won’t know if Palau makes this list until Nov 2017, they were keen to start gathering imagery, learn about conservation and marine science in Palau and showcase their communication strategies utlising 3D virtual reality (VR) diving. We took the VR diving using Google cardboards to Echang village in Koror and also to high school children visiting the Ebiil education center in Ngarchelong. It was great to show footage of Palau’s reefs that we collected days prior at sites such as Blue Corner and Ulong Channel. More of this VR material will be provided for use by the Ebiil Society as it is processed.
During this trip, along with the team from the NASA CORAL project, the 50 reefs team was filmed by a high quality international news program. We look forward to sharing details about that when the program airs later this year. More on that soon!
The SV-II 360 degree camera, operated by Christophe Bailhache.
The 50 reefs team and 2017 Australasian Rolex Scholar, Melinda Brown, using Google Cardboard to take students at the Ebiil Society education center on a virtual underwater field trip.
Showing kids (and adults) in Echang village virtual reality diving.