coral reefs

"Coral reefs, a challenge for humanity": the photo exhibition that alerts!

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Even today we learn that 30% of corals have died in the Australian Great Barrier Reef. Coral reefs now cover less than 0.2% of the ocean surface but are home to 30% of marine animal and plant species, protecting them from predators and acting as a larder. They contribute to coastal protection, human nutrition and tourism. This is why the photographer Alexis Rosenfeld is committed to the protection of these reefs with "Coral Reefs, a challenge for humanity" from 2 June to 30 August 2018 at UNESCO headquarters, Paris, with a large format immersive and multimedia photo exhibition. To discover life in the heart of the reefs.
 
A On the occasion of IYOR 2018, the International Year of the Coral Reef, and the World Ocean Day (8 June), this unique exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves visually in the wonderful and little-known world of coral reefs.
The photographer Alexis Rosenfeld has used an image technique to render these underwater landscapes, in their beauty, size and importance for each of us. Never before have coral reefs been shown in this way.
 
 
This exhibition plunges visitors into the heart of exceptional natural sites in the Red Sea, Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. A journalistic photo production carried out over two years with Alexie Valois, journalist.
 
In the Red Sea, the corals appear to be making resistance to climate change The coral reef of the Gulf of Aqaba stretches for miles in a spectacular palette of blue that delights lovers of underwater life. A dazzling fauna is offered to the visitor, an exceptional biodiversity made possible by the presence of these corals that line the coast. Threatened throughout the world, certain species still find a unique refuge in the Red Sea, unlike the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, which bleach before becoming extinct, abandoned by the algae necessary for their survival.
Coral bleaching is a phenomenon in which the coral, an aquatic animal living as a colony of polyps, expels symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae, Symbiodinium) from its texture due to heat stress. As the algae that give the coral mass its pigmentation are expelled, the coral bleaches. The symbiosis between the polyps and the zooxanthellae (which through photosynthesis provide food for the coral) being interrupted, the coral dies.
 
Reefs occupy only a tiny part of the seabed: less than 0.2 %. Yet they are found along more than 150,000 kilometres of coastline in more than 100 countries and territories. Due to their massive formation between the surface and the first few tens of metres deep, coral reefs form a barrier that absorbs elements from the sea very effectively. They absorb wave energy and help to reduce coastal erosion. They reduce damage in the event of storms, hurricanes and other cyclones, as well as, to some extent, the energy of tsunamis.
In doing so, they protect both the ecosystems between reefs and coasts, such as lagoons with seagrass beds, and human settlements on the seafront. Without this protective role, some atoll countries, such as the Maldives, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, are literally built on coral reefs and would no longer exist without this protective fringe.
In these labyrinths of living limestone, scientists estimate that more than a million animal and plant species are associated with them and that they are home to more than 30 % of all marine life. They therefore represent both a natural world heritage due to the age of the reefs but also a human world heritage due to the existence of these cultures. They are our legacy and the one to be passed on to the generations that will follow us.

 
Along the gates of UNESCO headquarters, and on photographic triptychs, large-format photos invite visitors to take an underwater walk, to pay greater attention to the marine world and to meet people. Texts and filmed interviews, reports and 360° photos complete this journey into the heart of the seas, explaining the changes facing the reefs and giving a voice to those who know them well.
 
 
"Coral reefs, a challenge for humanity" testifies to the beauty of these jewels of biodiversity, presents the scientific monitoring missions, and stresses the importance for each of us to preserve coral reefs in all oceans. This exhibition also heralds the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). In the face of ocean degradation, it is becoming increasingly urgent to find scientific solutions to understand the changes taking place in the oceans and to halt the decline of the Ocean, the largest ecosystem on our planet. 
 
 
 
Photo exhibition "Coral Reefs, a challenge for humanity" from 2 June to 30 August 2018 - UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy - 75007 - Paris
 
 
Photos ©Alexis Rosenfeld
 
 

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