A documentary film about our dying coral reefs was released this weekend by Netflix. The film “Chasing Coral” was produced by Exposure Labs who also produced “Chasing Ice” which documented glacier melt. The technical challenge of catching a reefs death were immense and this film gets right into the details. There is one scene in the movie where you see the engineering team creating an underwater time lapse camera complete with wiper and network communications. It utilized a Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone Black and many custom 3D printed parts.
The death of a reef is caused by ocean temperatures rising a few degrees above normal. Initially the coral tries to reflect any additional light by turning white. This coral “bleaching” phenomenon was noticed in the 1980’s, but has increased in frequency in different reefs across the planet.