Catlin Group Limited has joined forces with the Natural History Museum in London to present a major exhibition, that explores the importance and beauty of the world's coral reefs.
The exhibition, 'Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea', includes 250 specimens from the Natural History Museum's coral, fish and marine invertebrate collection. The exhibition also features a live coral reef with 40 fish species and 26 species of coral, and visitors will be offered an opportunity to travel to some of the world's most famous coral reefs through a panoramic virtual dive with the Catlin Seaview Survey.
Now in its fourth year, the Catlin Seaview Survey is a series of scientific expeditions utilising pioneering underwater imaging technology to study the changes occurring to coral reefs, one of the most distinctive features of our planet's oceans. Catlin sponsors ocean science research – including the Catlin Seaview Survey and the Catlin Arctic Survey (2009 to 2011) – to collect impartial, freely available data that will increase scientists' understanding of changes to our oceans and how these changes could affect future generations.
Although corals can appear rock-like, they are actually colonies of tiny animals that are related to jellyfish but with limestone skeletons that create the rocky seascapes. Corals are highly sensitive to changes in the ocean, such as temperature, pollution and acidity. Coral reefs and the enormous variety of life they host can act as early warning signals that can alert us about conditions in the ocean.
Stephen Catlin, Chief Executive of Catlin Group Limited, said:
“For years, the beauty of coral reefs was largely appreciated only by those able to visit the reefs first-hand. Besides compiling important scientific data, the Catlin Seaview Survey has captured unique underwater images that allow anyone anywhere to explore a variety of coral reefs around the world. Visitors to 'Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea' will be able to learn much more about coral reefs and how the Catlin Seaview Survey is increasing our understanding of them.”
Dr Ken Johnson, coral reefs researcher at the Natural History Museum, said:
“We admire the beauty of coral reefs, but we often overlook just how vital they are for the everyday lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Not only are they home to a diverse range of life, but reefs provide valuable food, income and coastal protection.
“Coral reefs are complex cities of the sea, with inhabitants playing differing roles and together, maintaining the health of these amazing ecosystems even as accelerating human impacts threaten them worldwide”.