CReefs to star in BBC doco

The BBC film crew recording footage of the CReefs expedition.
Image: Gary Cranitch.


20 May 2010
A BBC Horizons film crew visited the CReefs Ningaloo expedition to record material for a documentary with the working title Can We Save the Ocean?
The crew filmed footage of the retrieval and processing of the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), as well interviewed many of the researchers participating in the CReefs expedition.
The documentary will focus on the Census of Marine Life, of which the CReefs program is a part. The Census of Marine Life is a comprehensive international survey of the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the oceans, past, present and future. Findings of the 10-year survey will be released in October this year.
The BBC documentary will use the CReefs project as an example of the important work of the Census.
The documentary will also include three case studies: overfishing in Boston Harbour and Cape Cod in Massachusetts, US; acoustic noise pollution affecting whale behaviour in the same area; and climate change, ocean acidification and ocean warming, being filmed in Australia.
Clare Kingston, science researcher on the BBC project, said the CReefs project was essential in the documentary because it illustrated the scale of what is not yet known about the oceans.
"A key theme of the film is that we're destroying the ocean before we even know what's in it," she said.
"The CReefs project is really important because it documents the current biodiversity of coral reefs, which are species-rich but as yet, so little understood. Scientists on this expedition have discovered new species; it's a race against time to identify species before they're potentially lost," she said.
Clare said the documentary urges a cautious optimism about the future of marine life.
"We asked every scientist we interviewed, ‘Do you think it's too late to save the ocean?' and nearly all of them said, ‘No, it's not; science can help.' So we hope people will come away from the film understanding that we can save the oceans, but only if people change their behaviour, significantly and starting now," she said.
The BBC Horizons documentary will screen in the UK to coincide with the release of the Census report in October.