Shrimp in a sea anemone, Curaçao (Photo: Lisa Röpke, ZMT)

11.10.2018 | As part of the International Year of the Reef 2018, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) has put together a photo exhibition with some of the most beautiful coral reef motifs taken by research divers during their field work at ZMT. The images reveal the magic of this underwater world and let the observer get close to these wonders of nature.

The exhibition opens at the Haus der Wissenschaft in Bremen on October 18 at 17.30 hrs and runs through to January 29, 2019. We would like to invite the media and the public to attend. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Tropical coral reefs are among the most species-rich habitats on earth. These "rain forests of the seas" are home to more than one million species of animals and plants. Some of these reef creatures are already quite well-known, such as clownfish, sea anemones or sea turtles. But who has heard of Christmas tree worms, orang-utan crabs or neon slugs?

Animals in tropical coral reefs exhibit an enormous richness in form and colour from striking geometric patterns to bizarre body shapes or bold colour combinations – abstract works of art unfold before the eye of the beholder.

The close-up images reveal that even in the smallest niches and hidden corners of the reef, organisms have settled or sought shelter in the angled cave system of the corals. The many different reef dwellers form a finely balanced network of food relationships in which each has its function.

In times of climate change, marine pollution and overfishing, the International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018) is sending out a signal to inspire people around the world for this unique ecosystem and to draw attention to the urgency of comprehensive reef protection.

As part of IYOR 2018, ZMT is also organising a conference at the Haus der Wissenschaft on 1 and 2 November at which reef researchers from all over the world will present the latest findings on the use, protection and restoration of coral reefs:

On 8 December, ZMT, in cooperation with Kommunalkino City 46, will also be showing the film "Chasing Coral", which accompanies a team of scientists in their attempt to document the environmental changes in coral reefs.

The International Year of the Reef was initiated by the International Coral Reef Initiative, which has more than 60 member states. It was first proclaimed in 1997 and this year is the third time it has taken place.