Coral Bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef with screening of ‘Chasing Coral’

Coral bleaching in Kume-jima, Okinawa, Japan, September 2016 – photo credit ANA VILA-CONCEJO
Monday 16 October 2017 4.30 – 7.00pm

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New Law School Lecture Theatre 101 | Eastern Ave University of Sydney



Geocoastal Research Group and Sydney Ideas

In the last 30 years, we have lost 50% of the world’s corals, and coral bleaching events are likely to become even more frequent and severe due to climate change. The documentary Chasing Coral highlights a dimension of the global threat of coral bleaching to the world’s reefs that would otherwise be hidden underwater. Featuring over 500 hours of underwater footage of reefs from over 30 countries, divers, underwater photographers and scientists reveal the majesty of our coral reef systems, and how they are being affected by coral bleaching.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion including researchers from the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, located in the Great Barrier Reef. 

Film Screening: 4.30 – 6.00pm
Panel Discussion: 6.00 – 7.00pm


Assoc Prof Ana Vila-Concejo, Geocoastal Research Group, School of Geosciences


Prof Maria Byrne, School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Assoc Prof Jody Webster, Geocoastal Research Group, School of Geosciences
Prof Iain McCalman, Co-Director, Sydney Environment Institute
Ariana Neuman, Impact Campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific


Associate Professor Ana Vila-Concejo‘s career started in Spain, where she did her undergraduate and MSc studying urban beaches at the University of Vigo; and Portugal, completing her PhD at the University of Algarve investigating the short and medium term evolution of tidal inlets in a barrier island system. She then moved to Australia and started looking into the morphodynamics of flood-tide deltas in wave-dominated coasts within the framework of an ARC funded linkage project which was based in Port Stephens. In 2010 Ana started researching sand aprons in coral reef platforms. In 2011 she was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to focus my research on the morphodynamics of coral reefs. Ana is the Deputy Director of One Tree Island Research Station; between 2012 and 2015 she was the Director.

Professor Maria Byrne is Director of the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station in the Great Barrier Reef. Prof Byrne is an expert in the biology and ecology of marine invertebrates with a current focus on the impacts of climate change. In research funded by the ARC over the last 20 years, Professor Byrne has investigated the role of the evolution of development in generating larval diversity and as a mechanism underlying speciation in the sea. Professor Byrne served as President of Australian Marine Sciences Association and on the boards of the National Oceans Advisory Group and the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies. She has published over 170 refereed articles and book chapters.

Associate Professor Jody Webster’s research in sedimentology and stratigraphy focuses on carbonate sedimentology, climate change, and tectonics and it tends to take him to all the beautiful places in the world (e.g. the Great Barrier Reef, Tahiti, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Brazil).

Jody is particularly interested in coral reef and carbonate platform systems, both modern and ancient, and their associated sedimentary systems; as tools to address fundamental questions in paleoclimate variability and tectonics, and in turn the influence of these factors on the geometry, composition and evolution of these sedimentary systems.

Professor Iain McCalman, a Research Professor of History at the University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute, is a highly respected and award-winning professor of history and the humanities at the University of Sydney. He has published numerous books and journal articles. His latest book, The Reef – A Passionate History, from Captain Cook to Climate Change, which charts the shifting status of The Great Barrier Reef and was published in Australia and the USA. Beyond his research, he has been an historical consultant and narrator for the BBC, ABC and other TV and film documentaries.

Iain has as established a national and international reputation as an historian of science, culture and the environment whose work has influenced university scholars and students, government policy makers and broad general publics around the world.

David Ritter is the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific. David previously spent five years working for Greenpeace in Europe, and is also a recovering lawyer and legal academic who formerly practised in the areas of general litigation and Indigenous land rights.