Great Barrier Reef spawning to be broadcast live

 

It's a massive natural phenomenon that's right on our doorstep and it's hoped that an Australian first event will bring the whole country together in awe.

Starting on Friday night, the ABC will be airing live footage of the Great Barrier Reef's spawning event, which only happens once a year and which scientists have predicted could begin this weekend.

"This is an Australian first, it's a real time visual insight into this massive biological phenomenon," actor Brooke Satchwell, co-host of the Reef Live program told news.com.au.

"It's a breeding event on such a scale that it can be seen from space."

The Great Barrier Reef is the only natural structure that can be seen unaided from space and is home to about 9000 species.

"They are all regenerating and procreating because of the synchronicity of the temperature, light and the moon," Satchwell said.

"This is how the reef regenerates and it's the size of Italy and it's extraordinary."

The Seachange star said Reef Live, beginning at 8.30pm on Friday and 8.40pm on Saturday, would provide a "glass bottom boat into people's living rooms".

"This is an opportunity for a shared cultural event, up there with sporting events and the moon landing," she said.

RELATED: Why you need to book a trip to the Great Barrier Reef now

Brooke Satchwell will be co-hosting the Reef Live event.
Brooke Satchwell will be co-hosting the Reef Live event.

The broadcast has been timed to take place when it's most likely for the spawning to happen, once the ocean temperature has been at 26C or above for a month.

Corals generally reproduce four to six nights after the full moon in November when there is little tidal movement, and about two to three hours after the sun sets because plankton feeders will be asleep giving the eggs more time to settle.

Satchwell said the hope was the live broadcast would help people connect with what's in their backyard.

"Hopefully it will connect people to the reef and give a sense of custodianship, we are custodians of the environment," she said.

"It's magical and needs to be protected, it's our home. Hopefully this will inspire people to step up to that responsibility."

RELATED: Great Barrier Reef is worth $56 billion to Australia

 

Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC
Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC

 

Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC
Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC

RELATED: IPCC releases 'wildly alarming' climate change report

Asked whether Australia is doing enough on climate change, which is the biggest risk to the reef, Satchwell said "no".

However, she also pointed to other factors in the health of the reef including run-off from farms that release pollution into the waterways.

"I think what people forget is that everything is connected," she said.

"What goes down our sinks also goes into waterways … we are poisoning the whole system including ourselves.

"Our environment is fragile and once it has collapsed it's gone for good."

This year the reef experienced its third mass bleaching in five years.

A report from the Climate Council predicted that the reef could be hit with bleaching every two years by 2034 unless more was done to limit climate change.

"A 2C rise in average global temperature will almost certainly mean the collapse of warm water tropical reefs around the world," the report states.

In order to give the reef a chance of survival, global warming must be limited to 1.5C but it has already reached 1C.

This year the International Union for Conservation of Nature also downgraded the reef's outlook from "significant concern" to "critical".

RELATED: Huge gap in climate change action

 

Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC
Reef Live will be live streaming the spawning event on the Great Barrier Reef. Source: ABC

Satchwell said the Reef Live program would showcase the incredible people who were dedicating their lives to supporting and preserving the reef.

During the live broadcast, marine biologist Dr Dean Miller, free diver and marine scientist Lucas Handley, and shark advocate Madison Stewart will be reporting from above and below the water.

Q&A host Hamish MacDonald and scientist and inventor Dr Jordan Nguyen will join Satchwell in the studio for interviews with the Indigenous community and conservationists during the hour-long broadcast.

 

charis.chang@news.com.au | @charischang2

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Massive Aussie phenomenon streamed live


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