The Living Reef

Past event

The Living Reef builds on the success of Virtual Reef released in 2013, with new environments, interactive learning experiences, and including the latest in reef science by QUT researchers.

A digital marine ecosystem, The Living Reef is an immersive underwater interactive experience of the Great Barrier Reef. This innovative project features hyper-realistic digital content created by The Cube studio. For example, the fish have been programmed with complex artificial intelligence (AI) controlling their behaviours. This AI system gives each fish a purpose which replicates fish behaviour in the wild – fish can look for food, avoid being eaten, or even swim in schools!

The Cube studio consulted with QUT's coral researchers Brett Lewis and Luke Nothdurft to make the coral appear more realistic. A specialised technical artist was employed to develop a 'space colonization algorithm' which allows each piece of coral to be grown using mathematical equations and to ensure every piece of coral is a unique, replicating the diversity of nature.

The Living Reef features interactive on-screen activities. Turtle Tangle allows vistors to cut away ghost nets to help to free a turtle and Reef Ranger allows visitors to navigate RangerBot – an underwater vehicle developed by QUT's Professor Matthew Dunbabin.

Watch TV interviews

Scope TV interview with Simon Harrison

Read News stories

The Living Reef: The Cube's new 3D marine ecosystem (QUT)

Great Barrier Reef recreated using artificial intelligence giving city-dwellers access to Living Reef (ABC online)


The Cube
Science and Engineering Centre


11 January 2020 - 18 January 2020


10AM – 4PM


Free, no bookings required


All ages (adult supervision required)