5 TED talks on coral reefs that will wow you in less than 15 minute

Written by Carla Elliff

Have you ever thought about how many hours you spend online every day? According to a recent report by Kleiner Perkins (KPCB), the average adult in 2017 spent 5.9 hours a day on digital media (check out their data here:  https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018).

How about turning less than 15 minutes of your screen time into an inspiring wow-worthy moment?

Today on Reefbites I’ve selected some of the best TED and TEDx Talks about coral reefs.

For those of you who haven’t heard of TED, it’s an amazing nonprofit organization whose main goal is to spread ideas in short but powerful talks in over 100 languages. TED talks take place at events coordinated by the organization, while TEDx talks are independently organized events with the same spirit.

These talks cover a wide range of topics, which include, of course, our beloved coral reefs. Let’s take a look!

Could fish social networks help us save coral reefs? by Mike Gil (2017)


About the talk (TED synopsis): “Mike Gil spies on fish: using novel multi-camera systems and computer vision technology, the TED Fellow and his colleagues explore how coral reef fish behave, socialize and affect their ecosystems. Learn more about how fish of different species communicate via social networks — and what disrupting these networks might mean to the delicate ecology of reefs, which help feed millions of us and support the global economy.”

Why it is worth watching: Includes awesome easy-to-understand animations of how reef fish interact and some video footage of how Dr. Gil’s group set up their experiment. It also makes a clear connection between coral reefs and human well-being, all in less than 5 minutes!

Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/mike_gil_could_fish_social_networks_help_us_save_coral_reefs

Why I still have hope for coral reefs, by Kristen Marhaver (2017)


About the talk (TED synopsis): “Corals in the Pacific Ocean have been dying at an alarming rate, particularly from bleaching brought on by increased water temperatures. But it’s not too late to act, says TED Fellow Kristen Marhaver. She points to the Caribbean — given time, stable temperatures and strong protection, corals there have shown the ability to survive and recover from trauma. Marhaver reminds us why we need to keep working to protect the precious corals we have left. “Corals have always been playing the long game,” she says, “and now so are we.”.”

Why it is worth watching: Dr. Marhaver begins her talk with “The first time I cried underwater…” and paints a pretty bleak picture. However, hearing the story of the second time she cried underwater will really make your day and give you that confidence boost that there is hope.

Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/kristen_marhaver_why_i_still_have_hope_for_coral_reefs#t-216473

The beautiful math of coral, by Margareth Wetheim (2009)


About the talk (TED synopsis): “Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.”

Why it is worth watching: Ok, I lied. This video is not under 15 minutes, but with just 24 seconds over my arbitrary limit it is one of my favorites. I am crocheter myself and I love how this talk speaks to so many different audiences.

Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef

A hybrid future – The corals of Miami, by Colin Foord (2011)


About the speaker (YouTube description): “Colin Foord is a marine biologist and artist educated at the University of Miami and James Cook University (Australia). He is one half of the marine biological art-duo Coral Morphologic, whose fluorescent coral imagery has graced Miami since 2007.”

Why it is worth watching: This talk challenges the view most people have of a fragile and delicate coral. It also discusses how particularly sturdy specimens could hold important information to help restore our reefs.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X3uCnEN7lE

The secrets I find in the mysterious ocean floor, by Laura Robinson (2014)


About the talk (TED description): “Hundreds of meters below the surface of the ocean, Laura Robinson probes the steep slopes of massive undersea mountains. She’s on the hunt for thousand-year-old corals that she can test in a nuclear reactor to discover how the ocean changes over time. By studying the history of the earth, Robinson hopes to find clues of what might happen in the future.”

Why it is worth watching: This technology-packed talk changes the usual tropical-centric nature of corals. Deep-sea corals hold lots of clues as to what our planet has been through and images like the ones shown here are still pretty rare.

Link: https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_robinson_the_secrets_i_find_on_the_mysterious_ocean_floor#t-16885

This was just a sample of what TED and TEDx have to offer, be sure to check out more of their videos and let us know if we missed any spectacular coral reef talks!

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