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January
'Coral Reef Adventure' is Space Museum's latest Omnimax show
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The story of the reefs and how they have come to face worldwide decline is brought to life in "Coral Reef Adventure", a new Omnimax Show being screened at the Hong Kong Space Museum from tomorrow (February 1) until July 31.

The film takes viewers on a fantastic South Pacific voyage of discovery, from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to the majestic islands of Tahiti, to see some of the world's largest, most beautiful, yet most endangered coral reefs.

Coral reefs are the largest living structures on Earth. Called the "soul of the sea", they have existed for 60 million years and provide a home for thousands of creatures whose coexistence provides benefits for all, forming a large survival system.

Creatures such as the gobies, which often share a home with bulldozer shrimp. The goby gets an impeccable burrow to live in without lifting a fin and the very near-sighted shrimp gets a bodyguard.

Or the cleaner wrasses, small fish that swim right into the potato cod's mouth to feed on parasites. The cods get groomed and the wrasses get dinner.

Co-operation among species sustains life in the ocean. The coral's most important partners are tiny, microscopic algae that live inside the coral animal's tissues. These helper algae use sunlight to produce sugar, the primary food that gives corals the energy to build reefs. The vegetarian convict tangs protect the reef by nibbling away seaweed that smothers corals, while the sea cucumber filters waste, leaving the reef cleaner for all.

Coral reefs also benefit humankind. Standing between islanders' homes and violent seas, they protect nearly all tropical coasts. Reefs also feed us. Over 300 million people rely on fish from reefs. And no place on Earth holds greater potential for medical science than the reefs. Doctors use calcium carbonate from coral to mend our broken bones. Chemical compounds from the reef provide relief for chronic pain, ease childbirth, and extend the life of AIDS patients.

However, coral reefs are disappearing at an alarming rate all around the world. Ocean warming is the major cause. Over-fishing and siltation caused by logging are also serious threats to the survival of the reefs.

Four years in the making, "Coral Reef Adventure" reveals both the reefs' remarkable contribution to life and the imminent dangers they face. Celebrated underwater cinematographers Howard and Michele Hall used their cameras to explore the magic of the reefs and other ocean environments. Underwater images of mesmerising beauty alternate with sobering evidence of reefs in decline. The Halls take viewers 100 meters below the surface to discover a reef that is 20,000 years old and previously unknown fish species.

The 46-minute Omnimax Show screens at 1.30pm, 5pm and 8.30pm daily. The Space 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), with half-price concessions for full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, please call 2721 0226 or visit http://hk.space.musuem/ .

Ends/Saturday, January 31, 2004
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