coral

NOVA
Lethal Seas

 

Marine scientists across the world are hunting for clues to one of the greatest environmental catastrophes facing our planet today: ocean acidification. For years we’ve known the ocean absorbs about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. But as carbon emissions continue to rise, seawater chemistry is changing, and the ocean’s acidity is increasing. As a result, the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that form the foundation of the web of life are dissolving. Follow scientists who are seeking solutions and making breakthrough discoveries, including a unique coral garden in Papua New Guinea that offers a glimpse of what the seas could be like in a half-century.

 

 

 

LIFE ON THE REEF
Part 3 of 3

 

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth – home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to 100-ton whales. From the coral cays of the outer reef to the Islands of the Torres Strait, the reef’s human residents work to find that critical balance between our needs and those of an ever-diminishing natural world.

 

Part 3 of 3
See how humans and the animal residents of the reef prepare for a category five cyclone that brings destruction to the North Queensland coast. As cyclone season finally gives way to calm seas of the dry season, the reef begins to recover and thrive.

 

LIFE ON THE REEF
Part 2 of 3

 

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth – home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to 100-ton whales. From the coral cays of the outer reef to the Islands of the Torres Strait, the reef’s human residents work to find that critical balance between our needs and those of an ever-diminishing natural world.

 

Part 2 of 3
Witness the explosion of life as the wet season approaches: corals spawn, sea birds nest and thousands of turtle hatchlings erupt over the beaches. Soon torrential rain and storms will bring change and upheaval to the delicate ecosystem.

 

LIFE ON THE REEF
Part 1 of 3

 

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth – home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to 100-ton whales. From the coral cays of the outer reef to the Islands of the Torres Strait, the reef’s human residents work to find that critical balance between our needs and those of an ever-diminishing natural world.

 

Part 1 of 3
On the most protected island in Australia, 20,000 green sea turtles return to the biggest reptilian breeding colony on Earth.

 

NATURE
Animal Homes: Animal Cities

 

For some animals, living in the midst of huge colonies of their own kind is the most secure and rewarding housing arrangement. Icelandic puffins form nesting colonies of more than a million, providing shared information about food sources and reducing the odds of attacks on individual birds. But colonies are useful for predators, too. Social spiders in Ecuador work together to capture prey 20 times the size an individual might subdue on its own. For others, communal living provides multi-generational care-giving options or the opportunity to build enormous cities like the acre-wide multi-million-citizen colonies built by leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica, or Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, built entirely by tiny corals.