Dr. Mark Spalding has worked on coral reefs in over 20 countries. In recent years much of Spalding's fieldwork has focused on the coral reef fish of the Indian Ocean. He was there in 1998 when warm waters devastated the coral reefs, providing a clear warning of the potential damage climate change could inflict.

Since then Spalding has been monitoring recovery, and developing a more detailed model of the future threats to coral reefs.

For many years, Spalding worked for the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, running a major program to map the world's coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Spalding also did some of the most detailed research available on marine parks and reserves. This work included several publications, among others The World Mangrove Atlas, Reefs at Risk, and in 2001, the World Atlas of Coral Reefs.

Spalding led the preparation of the film's script and Teacher's Resource Guide.