Most people have never heard of ocean acidification—the process by which the ocean becomes more acidic as it absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been emitted into the atmosphere. Visualizing the impact to marine is challenging. As a solution, Stanford researchers have produced a virtual underwater ecosystem to allow you to observe firsthand what coral reefs are expected to look like by the end of the century if we do not curb our CO2 emissions.
With funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford researchers have designed an educational experience that makes the impossible possible: watch the ocean absorb invisible CO2 molecules, a coral reef degrade and marine life disappear as the ocean acidifies. Each step in the journey is based on decades of marine science research.
“This simulation shows in rich detail the damage carbon pollution inflicts on our oceans. I appreciate the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience for calling attention to the peril our oceans face and what we must do to protect them.”
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
“One of the things I appreciate most about the virtual reef they have created is that it represents what I actually saw when I was underwater. We worked hard to make it scientifically accurate. This accuracy is really important when we are using this virtual world to teach about the real world.”
Kristy Kroeker - Assistant Professor, Physical and Biological Sciences, Univeristy of California Santa Cruz
“I am thrilled that VR technologies can bring people 'under water' to experience the impacts of ocean acidification. I am so impressed with the realism and accuracy of the VR experience”
Fiorenza Micheli - David & Lucile Packard Professor in Marine Sciences, Stanford University
For more information about ocean acidification and learning in Virtual Reality, here are some additional resources:
COMMUNITY DYNAMICS AND ECOSYSTEM SIMPLIFICATION IN A HIGH-CO2 OCEAN:http://www.pnas.org/content/110/31/12721.full.pdf
THE USE OF IMMERSIVE VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE LEARNING SCIENCES - DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS OF TEACHERS, STUDENTS, AND SOCIAL CONTEXT: http://vhil.stanford.edu/mm/2008/bailenson-IVE-learning.pdf
EXPERIENCING NATURE - EMBODYING ANIMALS IN IMMERSIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS INCREASES INCLUSION OF NATURE IN SELF AND INVOLVEMENT WITH NATURE: http://vhil.stanford.edu/mm/2016/08/ahn-jcmc-experiencing-nature.pdf
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ASSOCIATION (NOAA) INFORMATION:http://pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification
SOAE is now optimized for smaller tracking spaces! After receiving valuable feedback from our users, the new version enables those with smaller room sizes to extend the reach of their hands, allowing them to more easily interact with the virtual world.
If you do have a large space (2.5m x 2m or bigger), we highly recommend you still do the experience as it was originally intended without the use of augmented hands. However, both versions are available to everyone and you can select which one you'd like to use once you run the program.