Underwater image conveying awareness of coral ecosystem conservation

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This study is focus on the effect of underwater image in conveying awareness of coral ecosystem conservation. The use of underwater photography in conveying peoples especially tourists aware of the coral ecosystem damage and the important of conserve it are commonly applied to express meaning more clearly and attractive without losing the whole context of the actual message conveyed.

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Underwater image conveying awareness of coral ecosystem conservation

  1. 1. Underwater photography conveying awareness of coral ecosystem conservation SECTION ONE: INTRODUCTION1.1 Background of study This study is focus on the effect of underwater image in conveying awareness ofcoral ecosystem conservation. The use of underwater photography in conveying peoplesespecially tourists aware of the coral ecosystem damage and the important of conserve itare commonly applied to express meaning more clearly and attractive without losing thewhole context of the actual message conveyed. As mentioned by Cal Mero (2009),underwater photography can use to convey a message about its subject and can changeand inspire its viewer apart from as a medium of communicate. Take renownedunderwater photographer Brian Skerry’s recent photography work on harp seals and theglobal fisheries. His emotive photos communicate a message that is hard to ignore. Underwater photography is the most important medium in transferring awarenessmessage to tourists in order to stop the destruction of the world coral reefs and restoretheir beauty, health and abundance within this century. Nowadays, manipulation onunderwater photography becomes more apparent with the introduction of digitalphotography editing. The use of underwater photography in raises awareness is becomingmore common now because the technology of photography become more evolvecompared to the years before. Appropriate use of it can encourage people in preserve thenature of the coral ecosystem.
  2. 2. 1.2 Problem Statement Coral reefs also know as the “rainforest of the sea” are the most biodiverse of allmarine ecosystems and the greatest expression of ocean life. They are the barometer forthe health of our oceans and possibly our entire global environment. According to theDepartment of Marine Parks Malaysia SyMBiosIS, Malaysia has an estimated 4,000 km2of coral reefs, 75% of which are found around Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia.Coral diversity is highest in East Malaysia, estimated at over 550 species while there hasover 360 species of coral in Peninsular Malaysia. Nowadays, coral reefs are in crisis which dying at an alarming rate worldwide.They are now endangered on a planetary scale because of threatened by pollution, over-fishing, dynamiting and bleaching. Home to more than a quarter of all fish species onEarth, an estimated 10% of coral reefs have already disappeared and an estimated 58% ofall coral reefs are at risk today. In Southeast Asia, more than 80% of the reefs are at riskand an estimated 38% of the reefs in the Florida Keys died between 1996 and 2000.(Cynthia Lazaroff, Planetary Coral Reef Foundation West Coast Office) Coral reef also is one of the primary tourist attractions in coastal regions.However, the absence of distinct strategies to ensure the conservation of reefs has alreadyled to the degradation of these resources in many parts of the ESCAP region. Tourists andlocals are found walking on reefs and doing diving activities which damaging themextensively. Moreover, the collection of pieces of coral as souvenirs, collection of shells,dropping of anchors of boats used by tourists and fishermen, are also contributory causes.Apart from fishing activities, the corals are also exploited and damaged, eitherintentionally or out of ignorance, by other tourism related activities. The coral coloniessituated close to popular beach resorts have been most seriously affected and beensubjected to serious damages. These are facing various problems ranging from pollutedsea water, disturbance from tourist divers (unskilled), oil-spill from too many divingboats, and waste littering. Even the more off-shore and less accessible coral reefs arefacing damages from some of these factors, though to a lesser extent. However, thetendency of damages is increasing as the tourism activity of scuba diving and snorkelingare gaining popularity. There is clearly conclude that the increase of tourism industry hasraises the amount of coral degradation.
  3. 3. Abdul Jamal Mydin, general director of Marine Park Department told reportersthat in Pulau Payar in Kedah for example, an estimated 60% to 90% of corals wereaffected by the bleaching. Besides the peninsula, signs of coral bleaching have also beenreported in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah. Reef Check Malaysia general manager, Julian Hydetells The Nut Graph that the bleaching was first observed in April 2010, and the situationgot worse in May and June. In May 2010, the Terengganu government said it planned tolimit the annual number of tourists visiting Redang Island because the increasing numberof tourists was taking a toll especially on the coral reefs. Greenfins Malaysia was also setup in 2008 to encourage dive operators and their clients to adopt environmentally-friendly practices to help conserve coral reefs and marine life. In order to reduce risk of coral degradation, the use of underwater photography iscrucial because it is a multi-disciplinary art that has developed in response to the crisisconfronting biological diversity today.1.3 Significance of study It seems that more rigorous coral conservation should be done in order to awaremore tourists. As we can see, due to the advancement of underwater photography, touristsare becoming more aware of the persuasion effects of the conservation. Therefore, theyare not easily persuaded by common or ordinary conservation campaigns. It means, thetourists are no longer can be easily affected by the direct or straightforward underwaterphotography. Although direct or straightforward underwater photography may bringsabout the meanings more effectively, it does not possess the powerful creative pull it itscampaign. Conversely by applying the uses of more creative techniques in conservation inconvey messages, it may convince the tourists to get more awareness on the coraldamages and the way to sustain them. If the conservation campaigns are successful, thismay help our country to save more marine ecosystem. Besides that, this study also essentials in order to understand the conveying effectof underwater photography on coral conservation. One of the hopes expressed for thefuture of conservation photography as a field is that it will lead to greater opportunities
  4. 4. for funding projects, independent from existing media or science budgets. It will also behelpful for mainstream media outlets to publish more conservation content. Additionally,strides for conservation awareness can be gained if the majority of nature photographers,amateur and professional, will become more engaged in conservation issues, recognizingtheir ability to be activists with the cameras.1.5 Aim and Objectives The main aim of this research is to study the manipulation of using underwaterimage to conveying tourists about the awareness of coral ecosystem conservation.Specific Objectives:1. To study the effect of underwater photography whether it manage to convey touristsaware of coral ecosystem conservation or not.2. To verify the underwater photography are effective and efficient in aware tourists orinefficient.3. To identify whether underwater photography able to sustain the nature of coralecosystem from being degraded continuously.1.6 Research QuestionsWhat is most persuasive way to convince and convey awareness message to tourists oncoral conservation?Are using underwater photography in convince tourists effective enough?1.7 HypothesisH1: Underwater image able to conveying awareness of coral ecosystem conservation totourist.
  5. 5. 1.8 Limitation and Delimitation This is a case study research on Malaysia tourism industry which will be done inSabah, Malaysia. Therefore this research will be limited to tourists visiting Sabah area,highlighting on their preferences on underwater photography in conservation approach.Respondents’ selection will be general which will include foreign and local tourist fromand outside of Malaysia. This is mainly to ensure sample generalization by employingprobability sampling in sample selection.
  6. 6. CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW From beneath the surface of the water, underwater photographer David Doubiletexposed a previously unseen world, publishing 70 articles in National Geographicstarting in 1971. His book Water Light Time (1999) includes photographs from thirtydifferent oceans and seas shot over three decades of exploration, portraying theunderwater world with unprecedented story-telling artistry that fostered new appreciationfor that realm. Both Balog and Ketchum stated the need to reconnect to the natural worldand believed that the power of photography could enable that connection.Photography can help us remember and reclaim our identities as part of the naturalworld… [It is] an antidote to the disorientation of our time; it replaces fragmentation withfocus, forgetting with memory, indifference with affection. These are the impulsesshaping a new breed of activist photography oriented to the conservation of the naturaland human environment (Balog, 2007). The World Conservation and Wildlife Trust run by CEO Robin Johnsonare launching a new and unique project focused on the general population experiencingthe beauty of the Sea through the means of a nationwide film. At the moment they aredeveloping a similar film around the UK to use as a taster for what is to come. The film isa testament to the beauty that lies beneath, the sea and all of its aquatic ecosystems. Thefirst part of the film focuses on following marine experts to Marine havens around theworld to film how the underwater world operates. The second part to the film is theimpact of the Destruction of the seas on local inhabitants, for example in Thailand, KohTao, Phuket and Krabi. Locals here depend on the sea for cultural and practical reasons,as they have lived off the sea for generations; by destroying it they are destroying them.Then finally the third aspect of the film is human impact, they look at human impacts onthe seas and how they are destroying the beautiful life within the sea. They are launchingtheir taster film on the Marine Life around the UK on October 3rd at 9.00pm 2011 atthe Screen on the Green in Angel, London, where with just one screening they try andseek interest on the topic and seek investment for their film which will belaunched nationwide (possibly global) to a much larger audience, raising the critical topicof the destruction of their seas the next of the year. (Robin Johnson, 2007)
  7. 7. The Images for Conservation Fund (ICF), founded by John Martin in Texas,proclaims “Photography is the most powerful conservation tool on the planet(imagesforconservation.org).” Recognizing that ninety-six percent of Texas and ninetypercent of the Western Hemisphere is privately owned, ICF focuses its programsprimarily on conservation of private land, using photography tournaments as educationaland economic incentives to encourage private landowners to restore, preserve andenhance wildlife habitat. Photography also is a propaganda device and a weapon for thedefense of the environment and therefore for the fostering of a healthy human race andeven very likely for its survival. When used to its best advantage, dramatically, withuncompromising sharpness, it is a most powerful means for demonstrating the need forprotecting and preserving the biota. This is because photographs wield a great force ofconviction. Photographs are believed more than words; thus they can be usedpersuasively to show people who have never taken the trouble to look what is there(Porter in Rohrbach et al 2001). In addition, photography can help break down the wall of rationality and providethe poetry to warn and inspire. Photography has the power to “touch the images of thesoul” and to become that new language “to convey the feelings of beauty, hope,inspiration and sacredness for humanity and all other life.” Photography can provideconnection to the wilderness experience, remind us that we are all connected, and providethe “spiritual spark that ignites understanding.” As Player described general conservationneeds for 21st century, he was essentially describing the role of conservationphotography.
  8. 8. CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY This study will be carry out by multidisciplinary research whereby it will acquireliterature from various disciplines such as arts, social sciences and tourism studies. Theuse of both approaches in this research is deemed important because they would enableresearcher to further understand the subject matter in which cannot be explained usingonly one approach alone. For instances, the use of qualitative method is insufficient atexplaining the matter of tourist’s behavior and perception towards the persuasiveness ofunderwater photography to show people who have never taken the trouble to look what isthere, since it concentrates only on interpreting on the message by the text. Documenting this amazingly diverse region required a wide variety of photographictechniques, from aerial photography of landscapes to micro photography of insects. Onaverage, the sun in Gamba broke through the clouds in just one out of three days. Goodlighting was a blessing when it came, but the weather changed rapidly and was difficultto predict. The typical dim lighting required the use of heavy tripods and fast lenses. Highhumidity and constant rainfall conspired against equipment, and salt air and wind-drivensand in the coastal areas added to the toll. It was necessary to store cameras in dry boxeswith desiccant to keep them functioning. Camera equipment. I used a Nikon SLR camera system, including 35mm film-based camera bodies and a D1x digital camera body, with lenses ranging from 20 mm to600 mm. Macro lenses – 60 mm, 100 mm, and 200 mm – which allow close focus andhigh magnification, were the cornerstones of my studio photography. Otherwise,preferred lenses were 600 f/4 for wildlife and 28mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/2 forphotographing people. For film, when not shooting digital, I relied on Fuji Velvia 50 andKodak E100G/GX, often pushed one stop. Aerial photography. Photographing from above provided an informativeperspective on the landscape, revealing interface and linkages among habitats. Thisapproach was particularly important in Gabon where the patchwork of coastline,grasslands, water, and forest defines the ecosystems. Aerial pictures were made fromradio towers as well as a low-flying Cessna 182 aircraft.

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