The Hong Kong Space Museum's latest Omnimax show, "The Last Reef – Cities Beneath the Sea", to be screened from tomorrow (May 1) until October 31, will take audiences on a journey to serene and tranquil underwater worlds. Here they can admire the amazing corals and wonderful creatures living on the coral reefs, while reflecting on the importance of conserving our ocean resources.
Here on land, various types of building provide our accommodation. In the sea, "cities" are made up of coral reefs and the inhabitants include fish, crustaceans and many other ocean creatures. In fact, coral reefs support over one quarter of the world's marine species, including a vast array of molluscs from slug-like, multicoloured nudibranchs to Spirobranchus giganteus, a giant a tree-like worm sometimes called the Christmas tree worm. Many of these creatures live together, forming relationships that benefit each other - sea anemones protect clown fish from predators and clown fish eat sea anemone's waste, while small fish groom large fish which come to the coral reefs, nibbling away parasites and dead skin.
Reefs are the primary source of food in the ocean. Reef fish spawn directly into the open sea, which means their eggs have a less than 1 per cent chance of survival, joining the ranks of the ocean’s greatest food source - plankton. Coral reefs even filter the surrounding water, helping to keep a balance of nutrients, minerals and chemicals and protecting local fish populations. Without this filtration, disease will spread quickly through the food chain.
Coral reefs protect and connect different ecosystems. Coral atolls create calm lagoons within the circumference of the reef, a perfect environment for mangrove forests, which are also nurseries for a variety of marine life. Juvenile lemon sharks shelter within the mangroves where there is an ample supply of food, only venturing further away when they reach 12 to 15 years of age. Then they leave the mangroves and the lagoons behind, assuming their role in a food chain that connects the creatures of the reef to creatures of the open sea.
Reefs, like cities beneath the sea, have been shaping our shorelines for millions of years. They even help to form islands and mountains following geological movements. Eight-hundred kilometres east of the Philippines, in Palau, ancient reefs have created an archipelago of islands. Some of the islands have formed marine lakes, completely cut off from the surrounding ocean. The lakes have trapped whole populations of jellyfish, separating them from their principle predators, so they no longer need their sting.
However, the pollution generated by our cities is posing a fatal threat to the reefs, while rising sea temperatures bleach and kill the corals. An even greater threat comes from mankind's consumption of fossil fuels for energy, with more than 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide per second being pumped into the atmosphere, one-third of which will be dissolved in the sea, adversely affecting marine ecosystems. As a result, the world's reefs are vanishing five times faster than the rainforests. If no remedial action is taken, the last reef will soon be gone.
The 38-minute Omnimax Show, "The Last Reef – Cities Beneath the Sea", will be screened daily at 3.50pm and 7.20pm at the museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre. There will be an additional screening at 12.20pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays).
Tickets are available at the Hong Kong Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets for $24 (front stalls) and $32 (stalls). Full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above and people with disabilities are eligible for a half-price concession. For further information about the film, please visit the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Space/Programs/Omnimax/TheLastReef/e_TheLastReef.htm .
The Hong Kong Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For enquiries, call 2721 0226.
Ends/Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:58
"The Last Reef - Cities Beneath the Sea" will take audiences on a journey to serene and tranquil underwater worlds, where they can admire the amazing corals and wonderful creatures living on the coral reefs.
These jellyfish live in a lake formed by coral reefs on the island of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. Completely cut off from the open sea and their principle predators, they no longer need their stings.