In March 2022, John Brewer Reef was making headlines around the world as the epicentre of a sixth mass coral bleaching. IPA Senior Fellow, Jennifer Marohasy, wanted to film this reef that had purportedly turned white.
If we really care about something, Dr Marohasy argues, we should want to know everything about it. We should be there when the corals are bleaching, and we should be curious to witness any recovery.
The IPA funded Dr Marohasy’s first visit to John Brewer Reef in April 2022, and subsequent return visits, most recently in October 2023 with Rowan Dean from The Spectator Australia and Sky TV’s Outsiders.
A full 18 months after the first claims this reef would take a decade to recover, Rowan Dean sets out to find the coral that made the front page of The Guardian. How is he going to find this one coral, like searching for a needle in a haystack? Skipper Paul Crocombe gets Rowan to John Brewer Reef. Rowan needs to jump in, on snorkel, and find that coral. Is he going to find it dead, or recovered? ‘Café Latte Coral – it’s supposed to be dead!’ is an IPA production, directed by Jennifer Marohasy, filmed by Stuart Ireland.
Premiered on: 8 December, 2023.
On 10 June 2021, the IPA released Dr Jennifer Marohasy’s documentary on the Great Barrier Reef: Finding Porites: The Old Corals With Our Climate History.
Among the mysteries hidden in the depths of the Great Barrier Reef is the presence of the monster corals, Porites – are they alive or dead? Archival footage shows that they were cored by scientists in the past. So following Dr Peter Ridd’s advice, Jennifer sets off in search of them accompanied by an American diver who believes the reef is dead, and three Marlin fishermen. They make it all the way to the enchanting Myrmidon Reef, but do they find the corals?
IPA Senior Fellow Dr Jennifer Marohasy presents this short film which allows Australians to see for themselves that claims that the Great Barrier Reef is in crisis are not true.
A key claim in a January 2016 article in the scientific journal, Nature, is that there are no longer any living colonies of Acropora – a particular type of coral – at Stone Island off Bowen Harbour in the Whitsundays, and that other corals are now covered in mud.
Dr Peter Ridd’s path to dismissal by James Cook University began with an email questioning claims that the corals at Stone Island were bleached, dead and reduced to mudflats.
Dr Marohasy and her team went to find out the true state of the coral reefs around Stone Island.
What they found contradicts the Nature paper and proves this key reef system is very much alive.
What is the true state of the Great Barrier Reef? If you asked most Australians, they’d say the Great Barrier Reef is at risk of imminent collapse from climate change. It was for questioning this claim, and the quality of science behind it, that eventually led to Dr Peter Ridd being sacked from James Cook University.
In January 2020, Emmy Award winning cameraman Clint Hempsall, and IPA Senior Fellow Jennifer Marohasy decided to find out. They spent a week exploring the Ribbon Reefs 250kms to the north east of Cairns in search of coral bleaching – the process of corals turning white as a result of warmer water temperature, which climate scientists say is being caused by climate change. Some argue 60% of the coral at the Ribbon Reefs was irretrievably bleached in 2016.
If there was extensive bleaching back then, Jennifer and Clint couldn’t find much evidence of it in January this year. What they did find was healthy corals, curious clown fish, a giant potato cod, reef sharks, and an underwater cave. Indeed, much of the coral Clint filmed was growing vertically and would thus be invisible to the aerial surveys underpinning the bleaching scare.