The ABC’s Life On The Reef series depicted the vast scale, beauty and importance of the Great Barrier Reef, showing many fascinating aspects that tourists seldom see or hear about.

You can buy the DVD. Each episode runs for almost an hour.  If you don’t have that much time, here are some highlights.  (The numbers are minutes from the start)

Episode 1

  • Humpback whales (2:15) – a great conservation success
  • Osprey Reef (8:45) – pristine and profound
  • Coral growth (10:43) – tiny creatures, mighty work
  • Cuttlefish (17:40) – a lot smarter than they look
  • Lizard Island Research Station (21:30) – one of the best in the world.  This segment explores sounds made by animals on the reef.  Sound travels far better under water than in air.   It plays an important role in marine life.  See Julius Piercey’s research here, here and here (You can hear the coral reefs dying!)
  • Raine Island and Green Turtles (35:50) – remote, rare footage

Episode 2

  • Coral spawning (2:05) – the sexual tension of a billion sea creatures
  • Fish are also getting in the mood (15:27) – in this season for sex
  • Sex change (21:15) – many fish do it, including these barramundi and coral trout
  • Seagrass (30:10) – a vital ecosystem.  See also blue carbon
  • Mangroves (36:13) – also vital in the life-cycle of many species
  • Agricultural run-off (39:57) – see Lizard Island less exposed
  • Crown-of-thorns starfish (40:45) – the important contribution of Lizard Island research – see Knowledge Gaps
  • Lady Elliot Island (46:10) – manta rays

Episode 3

  • Colours beyond the range of human vision (8:00) – see also Mantis Shrimps
  • Cyclone Ita in April 2014 (18.20)  – Lizard Island (28:00) and recovery of coral and fish
  • Sediment plumes from tropical storms (29:35) – not just from dredging and port development
  • Abbot Point, ports and shipping (32:18) – see our posts here and here
  • Commercial fishing (37:22) – balancing commerce and conservation
  • Raine Island revisited (41.28) – turtle hatchlings and the threat of rising sea levels.  See the sea-level rise at Lizard Island
  • Improving the chances of survival (48:30) – in the whole ecosystem, every little bit counts
  • Watching minke whales (51:14) – everyone leaves as a reef ambassador

Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are often seen around Lizard Island.  This photo is from the Lizard Island Field Guide.

Green Turtle Celonia mydas at Lizard Island © Andy Lewis

Green Turtle Celonia mydas at Lizard Island © Andy Lewis