The Tara Expeditions Foundation and BioQuest Studios joined forces to deliver a visual message at Our Ocean Conference 2017. The video presented at the conference is now available online because the simple message it conveys should be heard and understood by everyone.
At the 2017 Our Ocean Conference taking place in Malta today and tomorrow (October 5-6), the Tara Foundation strongly advocates European leadership on ocean issues, calling on governments to provide funding and take action. The Foundation is supporting the official declaration on coral reefs presented by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and HSH Prince of Wales.*
At present, the schooner Tara is conducting high level scientific research on coral reefs throughout the Pacific Ocean. Tara’s observations to date show the widespread phenomenon of coral bleaching. At the opening session of the Conference, the Tara Foundation will present a video on this subject.
“The decline of coral reefs and the tragedy of coral bleaching have been reported in the media throughout the world. It is a topic explored in a number of recent and upcoming documentaries” says Romain Troublé, executive director of the foundation. However teams at both BioQuest Studios and Tara Expeditions Foundation believe that to enable people to connect with the animals that build the reefs, coral has to be viewed in all its glory. Most coral polyps are barely visible to the human eye. They live their lives at a pace much slower than ours. Their fluorescent colours are profoundly misunderstood and missed by most camera operators and photographers who film them using balanced white light suitable for lighting subjects in our out-of-water world.
Dying in front of our eyes
“For non-biologists, seeing fields of bleached corals may not generate the same feelings of compassion and loss, as seeing the animal revealed at high magnification, losing colour and dying in front of our eyes. In supermacro, we can relate to, and empathise with, these magnificent and vulnerable creatures” says Daniel Stoupin, from BioQuest Studios.
Two years of work
This video highlights two years of work by BioQuest Studios and represents the many hundreds of hours of computer processing required to generate focus stacks and pull out miniscule detail with deconvolution algorithims. Pete West and Daniel Stoupin from Bioquest Studios went to extreme lengths to reveal the hidden beauty of the corals by merging scientific digital imaging with Hollywood style cinematography and postproduction techniques.
“It is fascinating to see the skeleton of the Acropora colony revealed in one of the scenes. The tiny polyps work hard to produce those delicate, yet powerful structures that over millennia create barriers, cays and atolls” says Pete West.
A unique and eye-opening experience
The BioQuest team believes that scientific imaging techniques should be used more widely to connect us with nature and reveal fascinating aspects of biology in spectacular ways, rather than just as research data generating tools.
The mass coral bleaching footage documented by the BioQuest team along the Tara Pacific journey finally puts the phenomenon in perspective. Pete and Daniel admit that participating in the expedition was a unique and eye-opening experience and they hope their images can help to spread the message.
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