New IMAX film features Great Barrier Reef and all its wonder

Clown fish live symbiotically within anemones, trading cleaning and nutrients for protection and nesting grounds. Clownfish and anemones can be seen in the Tennessee Aquarium’s new Island Life gallery. (Image: December Media)

(Editor's note; This story was submitted to NewsChannel 9 by Casey Phillips of the Tennessee Aquarium)

“One of the world’s greatest living wonders.” “The largest living structure on earth.” “An ecosystem of extraordinary diversity.”

Stretching for more than 1,600 miles just off Australia’s northeast coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the kind of natural wonder draped in superlatives and mind-boggling statistics that still struggle to encompass its splendor and importance.

Actually a system of more than 3,000 interconnected reefs, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is considered the world’s largest living structure and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Sprawling across 132,000 square miles — an area larger than the combined footprints of Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina — it comprises 10 percent of the world’s coral reef ecosystems and is the only natural structure that can be viewed, unaided, from space.

The GBR is home to 600 types of coral, 1,600 kinds of fish, more than 200 birds species, 30 species of whales and dolphins and six of the world’s seven Sea Turtle species. Each year, more than 2.5 million people visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to experience its abundance of life and stunning underwaterscapes.

On May 23, the Tennessee Aquarium will host a special event to debut Great Barrier Reef 3D, the latest IMAX project by the filmmakers at December Media, one of Australia’s most experienced film and documentary producers. Narrated by Eric Bana, this giant screen