The captain of the research vessel Golden Shadow navigates through a pass into the Chagos archipelago. A group of scientists seeks ways to help reefs survive despite global warming and pollution.
The team, including coral reef ecologist Alex Dempsey, will dive three times daily, documenting each location within the reef system. This reef is estimated to have six times more fish than any other area in the Indian Ocean. Sam Perkus researches the islands to make large-scale digital maps of the reefs.
Over one-third of fish in the ocean spend a portion of their life on coral reefs despite how little of the ocean floor is covered with coral. The Chagos coral reefs teem with life in direct contrast to many of the dead or dying reefs worldwide. Scientists share stories from their dive in Chagos as they observe the damage done by climate change.
Perkus studies the changes as a result of global warming and other environmental hazards. He attempts to track changes in the coastlines' using satellite imagery. A marine protected area has helped replenish many species, but sharks are scarce.
Scientists are hopeful about the longevity of the reefs in Chagos. Recruiting events occur when young coral settles on dead organisms and begins to rebuild the reef system. Climate change and pollution will likely damage the reefs over time.
Credits: Indian Ocean
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The scientific team aboard the “Golden Shadow” visits the Chagos Archipelago, a tropical paradise with some of the healthiest coral reefs on the planet. They come to study reefs seemingly untouched by man, but instead become witnesses to a bleaching incident that transforms the reefs right before their eyes. Before they leave, they also discover rays of hope in little sprigs of coral that fight on.
Length: 27 minutes
Copyright date: ©2017
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