Under the Kelp Forest

UNDER THE KELP FOREST offers a 25-minute immersive film for planetariums plunging audiences into the depths of the underwater ecosystem in a sensorial and emotional experience that will bring attention to the ecological collapse of critical kelp forests due to climate change. Viewers witness the delicate balance of the kelp forest food web through visuals and storytelling that viscerally demonstrates the effects of removing one species caused by warming oceans and the trophic cascade that ensues.

This project utilizes innovative 360° underwater footage, Instant NeRF scans and CGI animations, enveloping audiences in the world beneath the kelp and emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life forms. The film underscores the urgency of conservation to protect marine environments and, by highlighting the beauty, vulnerability, and importance of preserving our marine ecosystems, viewers will be encouraged to actively participate in ocean preservation.


UNDER THE KELP FOREST will also have a traveling mobile inflatable dome-show, designed to reach wider, diverse and rural communities. The custom-made inflatable dome, shaped like an urchin, will enhance the experience and highlight the need for environmental stewardship.

What happens when just
one creature is removed from a marine ecosystem?

In 2021, a sea urchin barren was discovered on the south-east side of Saturna Island in British Columbia. A kelp forest full of biodiversity was reduced to empty fields of urchins. This occurred because one species was removed.

The small creatures, forage fish, and salmon no longer have a protected kelp forest where they can live and grow to maturity.

The orcas, who forage for food along the kelp forest, cannot  sustain their diet of chinook salmon.

How did this happen?

It started with the Blob

In 2013 – 2016, a marine heat wave called ‘The Blob’ affected many species in 

our oceans. It was the beginning of sea star wasting disease which killed millions of sea stars and almost completely wiped-out Sunflower sea stars, the predators of sea urchins.

Sunflower sea stars disappeared
from the ecosystem.

The sea urchin population exploded. 

Sea urchins eat kelp and the entire food web was disrupted.

So, what can be done?


Our science team is already grappling with solutions for bull kelp restoration.

And more people should know

We want to create a 360° dome experience that will not only wrap the audience in the magical sights and sounds of the kelp forest, but it will also demonstrate the devastation

of biodiversity loss.

The 360° film will be made using Unity software, Instant NeRF scans and underwater photography to push the boundaries of immersive new media art. It will be shown in planetarium domes in urban centers and…

…can broaden the audience by travelling to remote and rural communities with an inflatable dome which looks like a sea urchin, attracting attention wherever 

it lands
Urchin dome

This artwork will support the local bull kelp restoration project on Saturna Island in the Salish Sea, telling the story of this specific locality, and it aims to provide insights applicable to marine ecosystems worldwide.

Allison Moore

artistic director

Arthur Desmarteaux
sound design

Maureen Welton
Project Lead, SIMRES
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