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BBC Blue Planet II - Coral reefs

Episode three of Blue Planet II, 'Coral Reefs', looks at the myriad of life around coral reefs and the dangers facing these ecosystems.

Find out more about how ocean and marine science at the University of Southampton is helping to understand and preserve the world's coral reefs.

Glowing corals

Elena Bollati won 2nd place in the 2016 three minute thesis competition with this talk on glowing corals.

Watch the video
Glowing coral

Our work to preserve coral reefs

The University of Southampton is at the forefront of the fight to understand and preserve the world's coral reefs.

Read about our research
Bleached coral

Coral bleaching research project

The INCORALS project is conducting an in-depth study of the nutrient starvation of reef corals.

Find out more

Our student blog

After each week's episode our MSci students Kieran and Elin will be updating the Exploring our Oceans blog. They will share their thoughts about the episode and relate it back to what they are learning here at Southampton.

This week Kieran shares his experiences of diving on coral reefs and the damage he has witnessed.

Photo of Read Kieran Murray's blog post
The programme’s spectacular footage from French Polynesia represents the kind of community that most coral reefs would have possessed at one time – today represented by very few extremely remote places.
Read Kieran Murray's blog post

Expert commentary from our staff

Research undertaken by staff here at the University of Southampton has informed much of the science that is covered in Blue Planet II.

Professor Joerg Wiedenmann, Professor of Biological Oceanography, Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory

Professor Joerg Wiedenmann
Professor Joerg Wiedenmann

"The coral reef episode was wonderfully photographed, showing the reefs in all their fragile beauty. The imagery taken before and after episodes of coral bleaching showed impressively the devastating effects of this phenomenon on reefs. This relates directly to our research at the Coral Reef Laboratory at the University of Southampton, where we establish how other environmental factors such as nutrients in the water column mitigate or aggravate heat stress driven coral bleaching. We share the latest findings of our research also with students in our new 3rd year module 'Understanding Coral Reefs'.

The students of the Marine Conservation Society of the University of Southampton had organised a screening in the lecture hall which made watching a spectacular experience. The opportunity brought together a large number of students with interest in the subject and we had inspiring discussions about the functioning of coral reefs and opportunities to protect them for the future."

Find out more about Professor Wiedenmann's work and publications.

Take it further...

Seal swimming beneath iceberg. Copyright BBC

Listen to the BBC episode podcast

Dr Jon Copley features every week in the BBC's Blue Planet II podcast, in his 'Catch of the Day' feature. Go to this week's podcast - Cityscapes & Cephalopods.

Prof Wiedenmann diving

Inspired to study?

If you have been inspired to study our Blue Planet by the BBC's series, explore of the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer.

Whale shark

Explore the next episode

Extend your knowledge of the subjects covered in episode four of Blue Planet II, the Big Blue.

Explore the Big Blue
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