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Visitors will be able to take a virtual reality tour through the world's largest coral reef from 11 December 2015, as David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Dive opens at the Natural History Museum.
The nation's most celebrated nature broadcaster will guide audiences through this extraordinary community of marine life. With over 3,000 reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef forms one of the most important natural resources on Earth.
Travelling deep beneath the waves in a state-of-the-art virtual underwater vehicle, visitors can discover a wonderland of colourful corals, darting fish and deadly reef sharks.
Created by Atlantic Productions and its virtual reality studio Alchemy VR, this approximately 15-minute trip will give visitors a rare opportunity to come face-to-face with the diversity and abundance of the Great Barrier Reef. Part of the experience was filmed in conjunction with cinematic virtual reality experts Jaunt, using their pioneering camera system.
Many of the corals encountered can also be found in the Museum's collection, and are used on a daily basis as part of our scientists' research.
Historic corals such as the giant 120-year-old Turbinaria help us understand and predict the impact of environmental change on coral reefs. The specimen will be brought out from behind the scenes and displayed outside the Attenborough Studio.
Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, says: 'Virtual reality is a powerful way of transporting us to some of the most extraordinary environments on our planet. At the Natural History Museum, we're always looking for new ways to challenge the way people think about the natural world - its past, present and future.
'This experience provides a rare insight into the beauty and diversity of the Great Barrier Reef. It highlights the knowledge from research that is so vital for understanding and reducing environmental change in one of Earth's most important ecosystems.'
Anthony Geffen, Chief Executive of Atlantic Productions and Alchemy VR, adds: 'We are continuously innovating and providing more immersive and compelling natural history content. David's exploration of the Great Barrier Reef is the latest example of this: using a host of pioneering technologies and research to shed new light on this magnificent habitat.
'Through VR, we are able to bring the audience on an unforgettable journey, side by side with David Attenborough.'