New Coral Sea Dreaming Book & Ocean Channel

Taking the beloved Coral Sea Dreaming brand into the 21st century and beyond, Ocean Ark Alliance is proud to announce the launch of Coral Sea Dreaming – the Picture Book and with it the official launch of the Coral Sea Dreaming Ocean Channel.

Sponsored and hosted by Ocean Ark Alliance, this unique book and channel initiative is the result of four years collaboration between multi-award winning children’s book author and illustrator Kim Michelle Toft and Emmy-award winning marine cinematographer and producer David Hannan.

Inspired by the original film Coral Sea Dreaming  released in 1992, the 32-page hardcover Picture Book retells the story of the coral reef focusing on favourite characters such as the manta ray, octopus, nudibranchs and moray eel, with a target audience of primary school children aged 2 to 9.

Kim Michelle Toft captures their stories in vivid colours on silk canvas, accompanied by poetic text. There’s an additional six pages of more scientific fact file information, making the book a valuable educational resource for parents and teachers alike.

But it’s the multimedia juggernaut behind the book that makes this project a true winner for the digital savvy younger generation.

Each book purchase comes with access to the Coral Sea Dreaming Ocean Channel, an online interactive channel hosting a vast multi-media resource about coral reefs.

As well as live video sequences of each of the book’s characters, and free access to the original film Coral Sea Dreaming, the channel offers free viewing of multi-award winning documentaries, and access to a vast array of additional education resources.

Coral Sea Dreaming – The Picture Book is now available to purchase online from the Coral Sea Dreaming Shop or a vendor near you.

Charlie Veron’s Memoir: A Life Underwater

This year Dr Charlie Veron – the world’s celebrated Godfather of Coral – released his memoir A Life Underwater.

Charlie is a long-term friend of Ocean Ark Alliance’s founder David Hannan, with decades of collaboration in coral reef conservation work, publications, film projects and activism.

“Charlie is my most important mentor, and my science bible when it comes to reefs,” Mr Hannan said.

“This memoir is a precious insight into the brilliant mind and visionary heart of the planet’s most distinguished coral reef expert.”

Charlie has dived most coral reefs in the world, filled prominent director roles in Australia’s most notable marine institutes including the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and has named more coral species than anyone in history.

Penguin Random House describes Charlie as “a maverick Australian who transformed our understanding of coral reefs” with the memoir penned as “exhilarating, eye-opening, provocative, funny and warm…an inspiration to the young and the young at heart.”

As A Life Underwater reveals, Charlie’s love of marine life started at six. In his early twenties he joined the frontiers of scuba diving, exploring wild coastal areas that were largely ‘off the map’. What followed was a rich career as a self-taught coral specialist; a field he revolutionized.

“His discoveries include an original concept of what a species is, and the mechanism that drives their evolution – matters that lie at the heart of conservation,” the book’s description reads.

As a young, wayward scientist, Charlie embarked on a largely untethered journey of discovery that revealed to the world the importance of reefs to ocean ecology, and the critical need to protect them.

His risk-taking and associated groundbreaking research proved the importance of safeguarding scholarly independence; something he continues to call for as the debate over climate change, reef depletion and management continues to rage.

Charlie has been hailed by David Attenborough, proclaimed a second Charles Darwin, and described by famous Australian conservationist Tim Flannery as “one of my heroes”.

But A Life Underwater is not just science. It’s a deeply personal reflection on life, love, loss and grief. It’s at times funny, other times emotional, and ultimately an inspiring call-to- action for us all.

“Charlie Veron isn’t just a coral scientist, he’s a pathfinder, a scout who’s been sending back dispatches on the future of the planet for decades,” states famous Australian author Tim Winton.

“If ever there was a moment for Australians to listen up and act on what he’s learnt, it’s now.”

Purchase book or find out more via Penguin Books

Moreton Bay: A Natural Wonder

Seen from Space, Moreton Bay shines like a jewel reflecting many shades of blue, a natural marine wonderland.  Aboriginal Australians of the ‘Land Sea Country’ call it “Quandamooka”.

Many people from all walks of life celebrate Moreton Bay’s astonishing bio-diversity. Naturalists and scientists describe the bay as a transitional area where tropical, sub‐tropical and temperate marine species co‐exist, resulting in distinctive habitat and wildlife communities. It encompasses unique subtropical reefs, seagrass, mangroves and a Ramsar wetland. The region supports large numbers of shorebirds, green turtles, hawksbill turtles and loggerhead turtles and many other plants and animals. It is documented as one of the most important habitats in Queensland for dugong.


Meanwhile South-east Queensland’s rapidly expanding population puts increasing pressure on Moreton Bay through more pollution, more boat traffic and more coastal development.

To enable a closer look at Moreton Bay’s values and the issues, Ocean Ark Alliance has initiated a new online resource collating lots of already public information here:

Roger Steene’s long-awaited Colours of the Reef is now available!

World renowned undersea photographer Roger Steene has published a new 3-volume, 1404-page book set containing 6921 of his finest photographs, taken during a career spanning 50 years and thousands of dives in some of the most remote ocean environments on earth. Colours of the Reef – weighing in at 12 kilograms – is an indispensible educational reference for divers, ocean scientists and naturalists, and a visual feast for readers of all ages.

roger_re31_smallerRoger Steene is widely recognised as one of the finest marine photographers on earth, and Colours of the Reef – his 13th publication on marine environments – is the culmination of his life’s work. Steene got his first underwater camera in 1964, and since then has forged a reputation for perfectionism in the art of close-up marine photography. Colours of the Reef is a large-format coffee-table-style book set that is both a comprehensive educational resource and a formidable collection of oceanic imagery. Its sheer scope and coverage of every imaginable type of marine creature places it in a category of its own.

With worldwide focus on the fragile state of the Great Barrier Reef and other threatened marine ecosystems, Colours of the Reef could not have arrived at a better time. While celebrating the spectacular sea life that still exists, it is also a timely reminder of the vivid natural beauty that is rapidly being lost throughout the world’s oceans.

“Every imaginable form of tropical marine life and a lot more in vivid, living colour “

Colours of the Reef  contains nearly 7000 outstanding photographs of marine life and ocean environments, and excels on several levels: as a demonstration of consummate, perfectionist photographic skills, as an essential educational reference on marine life, as an intriguing look at the behaviours and interactions of some the planet’s most mesmerising creatures, and as a joyous celebration of the ocean’s beauty. It is both painstakingly comprehensive and visually enthralling. If you buy just one coffee table book set in your lifetime, let it be this one – it has no equal. A portion of each sale is used to fund the Roger Steene Legacy initiative, an ongoing project aimed at completing the digital scanning and indexing of Roger’s vast slide collection (over 100,000 photos) – a priceless natural heritage resource of global significance acquired over five decades and thousands of dives.


Be one of the first to own this incredible publication!

Ocean Ark Alliance has just received the very first copies of Colours of the Reef, and purchases for delivery in Australia can be ordered here:

Colours of the Reef is available in the USA from New World Publications here:


Colours of the Reef  at a glance:

  • 6921 stunning photographs
  • 1404 pages spread over 3 separate volumes
  • Epic scope and comprehensive coverage of species
  • Includes over 150 photos of species unrecorded by science
  • Total weight 12 kilograms
  • The culmination of a master photographer’s life’s work
  • Large, attractive coffee book-style format
  • Superb reference for divers, scientists, naturalists and students
  • Photographed over 50 years and thousands of dives
  • Handy photo identification and easy-to-navigate layout
  • Special chapters on marine adaptations and behaviours
  • Stunning section on bioluminescent marine organisms
  • Insights into the techniques of a master photographer
  • Informative, easy to read text (minimal scientific jargon)
  • Every imaginable form of marine life in vivid, living colour

About the Author


Roger Steene was born in Cairns, Australia, and has been an avid diver and underwater photographer since the 1960s. An Associate of the Australian Museum in Sydney and the Western Australian Museum in Perth, he is regarded as one of the most accomplished underwater still photographers on earth, and he has published and contributed to numerous field guides and large-format books on marine life since the 1970s. Because he normally accompanies some of the world’s leading scientists on major expeditions to remote ocean realms, he has acquired a deeper knowledge of marine life than most undersea photographers. This breadth of experience – combined with a meticulous quest for photographic perfection – leads to spectacular shots exhibiting a vivid, magical quality.

Roger’s stunning, one-of-a-kind photo library constitutes a potential component of OAA’s Global Educational Endowments an extensive collection of media, educational resources and scientific data that Ocean Ark Alliance offers license-free to organisations and individuals involved in scientific research, marine education and conservation (for non-profit uses and applications).

For more information and preview images of Rogers new book visit the website here:


Mission Blue Film Premiere

Mission Blue is a stunning new film that documents the extraordinary life of Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world renowned scientist and undersea explorer who has studied the oceans for over half a century. It’s an intriguing look at Sylvia’s epic career, her challenges in a male-dominated scientific field, and her lifelong fight to protect the marine world from a host of environmental threats including overfishing, climate change and more.


This impressive four-year film project has received rave reviews at a number of film festivals, and made its Netflix premiere on August 15th, 2014. Mission Blue is directed by Fisher Stevens (The Cove) and Robert Nixon (Gorillas in the Mist) and is a must-see documentary about one of the most dedicated and passionate ocean conservationists on earth.

Ocean Ark Alliance has long been a supporter of Sylvia’s pioneering work in ocean science and education, and was proud to provide underwater footage and cinematography expertise toward this production. Mission Blue is not just the name of the film – it’s also the name of Sylvia’s hard-working marine conservation organisation:, created in 2009 as a collaborative global platform to foster support for a worldwide network of protected marine areas. Her vision is to preserve these large marine ‘Hope Spots’ for future generations of humans and marine wildlife. The Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance is a valued Ocean Ark Alliance Development Partner that works with a wide range of scientists, organisations and educators to raise global awareness about ocean health, and to seek proactive solutions to urgent marine environmental issues.

“No ocean, no us.” – Sylvia Earle



For more information and press kit with pix:


The state of the Great Barrier Reef: experts respond

James Whitmore and Michael Hopkin, The Conversation:

Two landmark reports on the health of the Great Barrier Reef have outlined the pressure it is being put under by climate change and other environmental factors.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s five-yearly outlook report found that the reef’s overall health is poor, and getting worse.

But federal environment minister Greg Hunt said he is confident the reef will not lose its World Heritage Listing, which comes up for review next year.

The federal and Queensland governments’ strategic assessment outlines how the reef can be better looked after in response to a United Nations request for improved management.

Both reports identify climate change as the reef’s most significant threat, along with poor water quality, fishing and coastal development.

Below, experts give their reactions:

Sarah Hamylton, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong

It is pleasing to read about the progress for whales, crocodiles and turtles, but it is important to recognise the alarms that are being raised. Coral is one of the most important keystone species for the wider Great Barrier Reef ecosystem and the declines are worrying.

Corals are the major calcifiers, a key process whereby marine organisms convert ions from seawater into rigid calcium carbonate. Preliminary calculations based on information collected by the Joint Benthic Field and Remote Sensing Survey suggest that the reefs of the Capricorn-Bunker group are producing 624,000 tonnes of calcium carbonate per year (about 2,000 Olympic swimming pools).The calcification work they do to build up their skeletons and the structural architecture of the reef platforms and carbonate sands that make up reef islands and beaches is valuable.

It would have been nice to see more attention paid to the geomorphic implications of climate change for the reef. What are the follow-on consequences of ocean acidification for the production of carbonate sands that constitute the reef islands? At Lady Elliot Island, we found that although contemporary calcification rates are remarkably similar to historical values, our simulations of anticipated future seawater chemistry scenarios suggested that carbonate sediments might no longer sustain island growth by 2150.

Tim Stephens, Deputy Director, University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science

It is now a question of “when” rather than “if” the Great Barrier Reef will be placed on the List of World Heritage In Danger. These reports paint a bleak picture of the reef’s future.

The outlook for the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is considered poor, and to have deteriorated since the previous Outlook Report in 2009. Greg Hunt has said he is confident that the Commonwealth and Queensland governments will prevent the reef from being placed on the In Danger list, and that his task is to “make sure the reef recovers to its former glory”. The reality is that even with the most ambitious management initiatives to reduce local threats to the reef from run-off, this will only buy the reef some time.

The biggest threats to the reef are climate change and ocean acidification, and the Commonwealth’s approach to these issues is completely at odds with the protection of the reef. With the repeal of the Clean Energy Future legislation, and with little prospect of Direct Action being passed by the Senate, Australia now has no legislated policy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the waters of the reef to warm, and changing their chemistry.

In addition, the government has committed to reduce carbon emissions by only 5% by 2020 compared with 2000 levels. We know from the work of the Climate Change Authority (which Minister Hunt is seeking to abolish) that this objective is far short of the 15-19% reduction needed for Australia to do its fair share and to be on track to keep temperature rises within safe limits that would give the reef a reasonable chance of surviving.

Not only is the Abbott government failing to cut Australia’s carbon emissions (which are very high on a per capita and national basis – they are similar in total to those of large countries such as France), it is also expediting the approval of coal projects, including the massive Carmichael Coal and Rail project in the Galilee Basin. The emissions from this project alone (including those from burning the coal) could account for 4% of global emissions by mid-century. If this and other projects go ahead it is game over for the Great Barrier Reef, even if all agricultural, industrial and stormwater run off were to cease tomorrow.

Without a complete change in policy, it is inevitable that the Great Barrier Reef will lose most of the heritage values that justified its inclusion on the World Heritage List in 1981. The systemic failure to protect the reef also raises questions as to whether Australia has met its obligations under the World Heritage Convention, which in Article 4 requires member states to do their utmost to protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations world cultural and natural heritage. Apart from some fragmentary remnants, current policy settings mean that the bulk of the Great Barrier Reef will not be bequeathed to future generations in the way the World Heritage Convention requires.

Alison Jones, Technical Director, and Adjunct Researcher, Central Queensland University

I’m bemused as to why people are worried about the Committee’s findings. Whether the reef is in decline or not, or however UNESCO labels it, there are two irrefutable facts – human use and climate change pressures are increasing; and it will continue to be the best reef in the world – and worthy of World Heritage listing – for the foreseeable future.

Reef management efforts must increase, but they must continue to be based on good science. Now is not the time to be reactionary, but to show steady leadership, regardless of what the World Heritage committee says.

Bob Kearney, Emeritus Professor in Fisheries, University of Canberra*

The magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef and its worthiness of extraordinary efforts to protect it from whatever threats may arise remain unquestioned. Yet almost four decades after the declaration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, which resulted in Australia’s most expensive and intensely researched marine protected area (MPA), “the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor and getting worse”, says GBRMPA chairman Russell Reichelt.

Australia’s reliance on uncritical assumption of benefits from declaring huge areas as marine parks has been at the expense of targeted management of the properly identified threats to marine environments, including the GBR. The impacts of not managing the major threats are increasingly obvious. The current predicament highlights the needs for more critical evaluation of how marine environments, including the GBR, can be protected effectively and for increased commitment by governments to targeted management of priority threats.

*Comment prepared with the help of Graham Farebrother, Senior Research Fellow, Sydney Fish Market

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

The report, and the process around it, has not shied away from some very significant statements about port developments along the coast of Queensland. These perspectives have been – to much encouragement – picked up by Minister Hunt who has clearly put himself behind the statement that there will be no port development outside the long key established ports of Townsville, Abbott Point, Hay Point-Mackay and Gladstone.

The fact that this is now supported by those State and Federal governments is very significant.

However, we can’t escape from the fact that reef-building coral – absolutely essential to the Great Barrier Reef – is continuing to decline, and that we still have a very long way to go. Climate change is a cornerstone problem that we need to get right, and at this point that doesn’t look particularly promising. Our state and federal policies in this respect are minimal and simplistic.

I suspect the current set of reports and responses will go down favourably with UNESCO, especially the commitment to limiting port development to its current footprint. That said, UNESCO would be wise to examine the fine print – especially with respect to what consequences port development. Does this mean that we can dramatically increase the number of terminals and hence shipping traffic at each of the ports? In this case, I think shipping traffic needs to be considered in the light of the overall port ‘footprint’.

Minister Hunt states that “the Commonwealth and Queensland governments are jointly investing approximately A$180 million annually in the reef’s health.” This should be applauded. However, the amount of resources relative to the scale of the problem remains small.

In this respect, we need to remind ourselves that this ecosystem provides over A$6 billion worth of benefits.

Many of my CEO friends would probably have a similar perspective. In terms of GBR Inc, this essentially means that we are investing 3% into ‘a business’ that earns us over A$6 billion each year. Any normal ‘business’ would be investing 5-10% to ensure that the business was viable and sustainable.

Why are we not seeing things similarly with respect to GBR Inc.?

Republished from The Conversation, Australia’s popular on-line journal with academic rigour and journalistic flair:

Win-Win for Schools and Environment

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge Results 2013

The Ocean Acidification Art Challenge Prize Giving at the Atrium, Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne, Australia was full of colour and life on 12 August. The M.C. was Rob Gell, with The Hon. Martin Dixon, Minister for Education Victoria presenting the awards totalling $50,000 in school environmental and student study grants.

Outdoor Urban Screen - Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

Federation Square, Melbourne, Aus

Established by the Ocean Ark Alliance and funded by Peter Hannan Eye on the World Natural Images, the show demonstrated an outstanding display of artwork by Victorian Students Years 9 – 12. All 15 finalists displayed a deep appreciation of the topic and the rich diversity of the ocean. It’s great to see the incredible amount of passion today’s students and future leaders have for ocean issues and the environment.

The Grand Prize Winner was Ingrid Lee-Scott from Melbourne Girls College. 2nd Prize, Sarah McColl-Gausden, Methodist Ladies’ College. 3rd Prize, Amy Webb, Laverton P-12 College.

Also highly commended were Phoebe Markoulis, Surfcoast Secondary College, Lachlan Turk, Warringa Park School and Chloe Janetzki, Horsham College.

The Bayplay and Oceanic People’s Choice Award also went to the Grand Prize Winner.

See all 15 Art Challenge Entry Finalists at $50’000 Ocean Acidification Art Challenge
or Download the Artshow Catalogue – PDF

Thank you again to all the students, schools and organisations who worked tirelessly to make this happen. Our paintbrushes and the ocean’s future are in better hands because of this!

For more information contact Guy Morel –

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge 2013 Finalists and Speakers including M.C. Rob Gell, The Hon. Martin Dixon, Minister for Education Victoria and David Hannan

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge 2013 Finalists and Speakers including M.C. Rob Gell, The Hon. Martin Dixon, Victoria Minister for Education and OAA Founder David Hannan

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge 2013, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge Exhibition 2013, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge 2013, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

Ocean Acidification Art Challenge Prize-giving 2013, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

For more information see also the OAA project page here: $50000 Ocean Acidification Art Challenge

originally published at

Okeanos Intimate – A Love Letter to the Sea

Live Performance Show in residence over 5 months at Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, San Francisco CA

Okeanos is a portrait of the ocean as body, environment, resource, metaphor, and force.
It inspires and educates audiences about the ocean and ocean conservation.

Capacitor-Okeanos-Nobu_1000x1273Developed in collaboration with world-renowned marine biologists and oceanographers, Okeanos is a spellbinding dance/cirque performance combining apparatus, set design and choreography produced by the Capacitor Performance Company based in San Francisco, California. Okeanos is an hour-long performance that uniquely combines art and science to create a sensory experience featuring dance, sculptural costumes, conservation themes, scientific content and audiovisual media.

The scientific advisory panel for Okeanos includes Dr. Sylvia Earle (Chief Scientist for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1990-1992, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence); Tierney Thys PhD, (marine biologist, National Geographic expedition leader and past Director of Research at the Sea Studios Foundation); John Potter PhD (Principal Scientist at the NATO Undersea Research Centre) and a host of eminent ocean scientists and experts from the California Academy of Sciences, including Bart Shepard BA MS, General Curator of the Steinhart Aquarium.

Capacitor also hosts scientific presentations and lectures, and through its efforts, strives to inspire and excite a new generation toward improved physical fitness, a love of science and a sense of stewardship for our natural world. With Okeanos on show, Capacitor is introducing a whole new audience to the wonders of the oceans in a way that entertains, educates and excites; they have created a novel and spectacular vehicle for important environmental messages about our relationship with the sea.

Through Ocean Ark Alliance’s Global Educational Endowments initiative, cinematographer David Hannan has provided a range of footage from Australian temperate and tropical waters and also educational resources to Capacitor for its Okeanos performances and related educational outreach.

For more information:




Coral Rekindling Venus astounds audiences around the world

Currently nominated for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Innovation Award and screened recently in the futuristic-looking planetarium during the Buenos Aires Independent Cinema Festival and at Sundance New Frontiers earlier in the year, Coral: Rekindling Venus keeps amazing audiences wherever it’s shown around the world.

Created and directed by Australian media artist Lynette Wallworth with principal photography by David Hannan, Coral: Rekindling Venus is an immersive Full Dome format film experience that takes viewers underwater through the mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs.

Featuring music by Max Richter, songs by Tanya Tagaq Gillis, Antony and the Johnsons, and Gurrumul Yunupingu, Lynette’s intent …is to leave the audience with a sense of wonder for the complexity and beauty of coral reefs, and a stronger understanding of our connection to them”.

Premiering reportedly to “audible gasps” (Huffington Post) in New York’s Hayden Planetarium Space Theater on it’s impressive 30 meter (87-foot) dome screen – and simultaneously in a dozen other cities around the globe to co-incide with the Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012 – this 45-minute Full Dome show keeps getting rapt and positive attention from audiences and critics alike.

planetario_buenos_aires_160Winning ‘The Oscars of Dome Films’ in the Art Category at Dome Fest in late 2012, the film was invited to be part of New Frontiers at Sundance Film Festival during January 2013. Screenings announced in 14 cities around the USA were mostly sold out.

According to the L.A. Times: ” As close as most of us are going to get to feeling like we’re in a James Cameron submersible, “Coral” is immersive cinema at its most spectacular”.

Producer John Maynard of Felix Media adds: “Lynette’s work, beyond its beauty and visionary scope has created a benchmark in full-dome work and is quickly enlivening the market with the potential of new content. Inclusion in the prestigious Sundance Film Festival New Frontier exhibition helps our film find wider audiences and helps to spread support for our endangered coral reefs”.


Lynette Wallworth with guests at Sundance, 2013 demonstrates Rekindling Venus: In Plain Sight, the augmented reality app companion piece to Coral: Rekindling Venus.

Lynette’s current favourite review and analysis by Julie Fisher “that absolutely nails the work and the experience” is on Indiewire.

… and an astonishing reference in The Guardian to “… a mind-boggling film about psychedelic coloured coral reefs, the colours of which are affected when the planet Venus comes through the atmosphere …(with)… mesmerising soundtrack that will take you into another world”.

“It’s going gang-busters” said Lynette – “… more good news coming soon !”

For more info see the project website:

… or updates on Facebook:

Originally published at