28.08.2018 | 2018 is the International Year of the Reef (IYOR), a worldwide initiative by the International Coral Reef Initiative, first launched in 1997 and now in its third year. As a contribution to the IYOR, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and the award-winning film company "The Jetlagged" have now published a 360° film that was shot in a tropical coral reef.
The film takes viewers on a journey through the coral triangle in Southeast Asia and its impressive reefs. With a VR headset, viewers can experience this fascinating underwater world in a 360° view, they can look around like a diver would be able to and can explore this exciting habitat. The coral triangle, which stretches from the Solomon Islands via New Guinea and Borneo to the Philippines, is one of the richest marine regions on Earth.
With global warming the oceans are changing: coral bleaching and ocean acidification, but also overfishing and pollution are threatening coral reefs worldwide. Around 30% of the world's reefs are considered to be already severely damaged by human activity, and climate models predict a regular bleaching of nearly 90% of all reefs by the middle of the century. It is therefore urgently necessary to raise people’s interest in this unique ecosystem and to draw their attention to the need for comprehensive reef protection.
The 360° film is part of a research project by Dr. Katie Nelson and Prof. Dr. Achim Schlüter, both social scientists at ZMT. It is dubbed with different texts and used in combination with other media to find out which incentives make people aware of ecological problems and inspire them to value a natural space.
In Indonesia, the two researchers have already carried out a series of experiments involving more than 1000 people. They tested a participant’s willingness to donate to a coral conservation project after going on a virtual dive by watching the film.
ZMT will show the film with matching VR equipment on September 22 and 23 at the research mile during Maritime Week at Bremen’s Weserpromenade. The film will also be presented at the Our Ocean International Conference on Marine Conservation in Bali in October.