Watch David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef

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Following his visit to the Great Barrier Reef in 1957, naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough returns and uses the latest filming techniques to unlock the secrets of the natural wonder.

Wednesday 8:00 PM on Smithsonian
1 Season, 4 Episodes
December 30, 2015
Nature, Documentary & Biography, Mini-Series
8.7/10
Cast: David Attenborough
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David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Full Episode Guide

  • Almost 60 years after his first visit to the Great Barrier Reef, Sir David Attenborough returns to explore the iconic coral kingdom, this time with new research equipment, highly specialized cameras, and a film crew ready to enter uncharted, unpredictable waters. Go behind the scenes as we show how David and his team of filmmakers and scientists shot the footage for this landmark series, a yearlong venture that placed them on remote islands, into shark-infested seas, and nearly 1,000 feet underwater, the deepest dive ever attempted on the reef.

  • When David Attenborough first visited the Great Barrier Reef in 1957, he considered it the most spectacular place in the natural world and he assumed that it would last forever. Since then the coral has been dying at an unprecedented rate. In this episode he undertakes his most important mission to understand what the next few decades hold for this remarkable community of animals, as well as what is being done to save it.On his journey, David uncovers the remarkable ways in which scientists are trying to preserve the reef and embarks on an ambitious exploration of his own, the deepest dive ever on the reef. But despite the discoveries now being made by scientists and in the reef's furthest reaches, David fears for the future of this incredibly complex and beautiful ecosystem so vital for the world's oceans.

  • In this second episode, David Attenborough continues his exploration of the Great Barrier Reef, aboard the research vessel Alucia. He discovers the creatures that visit the reef every year, from birds to whales, some travelling thousands of kilometres to get there. Using the latest technology, David dives into the shark-infested waters of Osprey Reef in the Triton submersible.Sixty years after his first visit to Raine Island, he returns to the nesting grounds of the green sea turtle and at Lady Elliot Island marvels at manta ray cleaning stations. New tracking technology allows David to follow the story of visitors like the dwarf minke whales. Stunning satellite imagery and computer animation reveal their journey and David discovers their surprising reasons for returning and why the reef is vital for their survival.

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