The Eel River CZO is featured on the Morrison Planetarium show “Habitat Earth” at the California Academy of Sciences. The theme developed by writer Ryan Wyatt is one of networks, from the transportation trade networks routing ships through San Francisco Bay, to the food web networks that feed the life beneathe the waves and link it, via nutrients and salmon, to river food webs, and in turn to the roots and mycorrhizae underlying the forests that cool the rivers and influence their life-supporting hydrological cycles. The hydrologic cycle, following drops of water from fractured rocks up through trees to the atmosphere is interwoven in his story. Bill Dietrich, Todd Dawson, Mary Power, Collin Bode, and Angelo reserve manager Peter Steel all helped director Tom Kennedy, Ryan Wyatt, and film makers Jeroen Lapre, Mike Schmitt, and Matt Blackwell during their Angelo visits. The show opened to the public on January 16, 2015 and continues to play daily.
The latest show from the California Academy of Sciences Visualization Studio,
Habitat Earth, explores what it means to live in today’s connected world. Through
stunning visualizations, visitors dive below the ocean’s surface to examine the
dynamic relationships found in kelp forest ecosystems, travel beneath the forest
floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive, and journey to
new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological
networks. Visitors leave with a sense of how living networks connect and support
life forms large and small—from colonies of tiny microbes and populations of
massive whales, to ever-expanding human societies.
The scene takes viewers through the lush understory of the Angelo Coast
Range Reserve, and traverses a subterranean fungal network, illustrating how
fungi connect forest environments. After rocketing through a tree’s circulatory
system, viewers soar above the forest and learn how spawning salmon further
enrich this forest ecosystem.
The Academy’s Visualization Studio utilized a flexible mount fitted with six GoPro
cameras to capture real-world footage, stitching the images together to produce
a seamless fulldome experience. The resulting imagery, wedded with computer
graphics, exposes the complex root systems that absorb water from beneath the
forest floor, fueling the growth of trees year after year, century after century.
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