Filmmaker chronicles coral reef in photos

Written by by Matthew Vincent, CNN

High above the ocean, you’ll see branching coral growth that’s perfect for viewing from below. It’s not a new reef, but a budding community in which clams and mussels are waiting to molt into fresh water.

Now in its 11th year, the IMAX underwater camera has tracked an increasing number of fish migrating from beds of seaweed to an ever-larger expanse of coral reef.

Launched in 2005, the camera is designed to capture scenes of reef collapse through a symbiotic relationship with fine-growing, shallow-water mollusks that eat and digest the material.

Since then, Australian scientists have witnessed blooms that span three times the width of the full-length IMAX screen.

“It’s one of the most spectacular things you can see as an entrant into the natural world,” said film-maker Alex Scott, who partnered with conservation group Sea Shepherd to monitor the surrounding waters around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

“There’s a fluidity and an openness of space in the reef that is breathtaking and beautiful.”

Yet, something is lost in all this beautiful footage: the threat of coral bleaching and disease outbreaks, which has already impacted parts of the Australian reef. Scott said to look out for any dead coral.

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