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Space Museum takes viewers on a wondrous journey to tropical seas

     A new Omnimax show, "Under the Sea", will be screened at the Hong Kong Space Museum from tomorrow (September 1) until February 28, 2011. The show transports viewers to some of the most exotic and isolated waters on Earth, including the Indo-Pacific region, south Australia and New Guinea, for face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea.

     The film is an inspirational and entertaining way for audiences to explore coral reef creatures, witness their feeding, symbiosis, growth and reproduction, as well as examine the impact of global climate change on marine life and their ecological environment.

     Learning to respect the personal space of the other half in a relationship is something that human beings must learn. However, Reef Squid and Flamboyant Cuttlefish understand this by nature. For them, a long-distance relationship is not a problem. When two Reef Squid mate, the female produces a bouquet of translucent egg cases and later lays eggs into it. In the meantime, the male hovers nearby and eventually adds to the cluster his part of the DNA of the babies. The egg casings will begin to burst after three weeks or so, each releasing a half dozen or so jewel-like miniatures. The babies will then drift away across the sandy plain to take their chances.

     The Flamboyant Cuttlefish couple is a bit more intimate than the Reef Squid even though their mating embrace is little more than a peck on the cheek. The male then simply passes the female a tiny packet although whether the female will accept it is another matter.

     Giant Cuttlefish living in the waters off Australia are more aggressive in love. As the largest cuttlefish in the world, the males confront each other when competing for females. They communicate their willingness to fight with angry displays of colour and pattern. Sometimes, underdogs that are smaller in size use sexism (the female is less competent and therefore should not be bullied by the male) as a psychological tactic to slip past the duelling giants unchallenged.

     Want to know what climate change has cost mankind? The Chambered Nautilus that faces the threat of extermination and beautiful yet dying coral give audiences a glimpse of how badly things are going.

     Long before dinosaurs roamed the planet, the sea was dominated by over 2,000 species of Chambered Nautilus. They are the kings of the oceans. Today, only six species of nautilus haunt the deep sea since sudden changes in climate have exterminated most of the species that cannot adapt quickly.

     The temperature also threatens the life of corals. If sea water gets too warm, coral reefs bleach white and die. Even more deadly is a new threat called ocean acidification ― the consequence of the high concentration of carbon dioxide. Acidification inhibits the formation of calcium carbonate ― the stuff that coral reefs, the shells of the Chambered Nautilus, cuttlefish bone, and the skeletons of thousands of other species are made of.

     The film also unveils the lives of many fascinating creatures, from fish that might be feeding on their own children, the Carrier Crab that wears jelly fish as a hat to protect itself, the ugly Stonefish, sea snakes whose venom is much more potent than a king cobra's to the Great White Shark, whales, adorable sea lions and many more.

     The movie entertains audiences with eye-opening scenes of ocean wonderlands while introducing them to the serious issue of global warming's impact on these submarine paradises.

     The 40-minute Omnimax Show, "Under the Sea", will be screened at 1.30pm, 5pm and 8.30pm daily at the museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Tickets are available at the Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets for $24(front stalls)and $32 (stalls). Full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities will receive a half-price concession.

     The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, call 2721 0226 or visit the website at .

Ends/Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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