Having been preoccupied with the Miami Coral Rescue Mission this summer, we finally made our first excursion to the Lower Keys this summer on Friday August 22. Sadly, we found that a distressingly high percentage of corals living on the reefs in Hawk Channel are severely bleached. Most of the staghorn corals that we saw were severely bleached or actively dying, though there were a few hardy exceptions. Nearly all of the brain corals were bone white. All over the reef we observed an unhealthy mix of cyanobacteria and algae proliferating on previously dead coral skeletons. Even the normally hardy gorgonians, corallimorphs, and zoanthids showed significant bleaching on all three patch reefs we checked. The water temperature was an uncomfortable 89 degrees on the bottom. Without strong winds or storms to cool off the water, we are concerned that many reefs in the Keys will lose significant coral cover in the next several months.
‘Flower Animal’ exhibition @ Miami International Airport, 2014
We are proud to share that Miami International Airport/ MIA Galleries has unveiled an 80-foot spread featuring selections from our local marine life photography collection, ‘Flower Animal‘. The exhibition is comprised of eleven metallic-paper, diasec-mounted prints, and is located in the North Terminal, near gate D-31. This collection of prints is available to purchase directly from Coral Morphologic, here.
A hyper-fluorescent juvenile Montastrea cavernosa rescued from Government Cut
After months of impatiently watching dredge ships working offshore Miami, Coral Morphologic and other researchers were finally granted a brief window of opportunity from May 26 until June 6th in which to rescue corals left behind from the legally-required relocation effort from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Deep Dredge of Government Cut. This was a much shorter length of time than we had been prepared for, and as such, we had to respond with considerable urgency in order to rescue as many corals as possible. Fortunately we had begun our detailed preparations in January 2014 by coordinating students and professors from the University of Miami to help in the effort. Collectively, the Miami Coral Rescue Mission removed over 2,000 stony corals that would have otherwise been destroyed in the process to make way for the larger ships that will pass through the soon-to-be-expanded Panama Canal.
The majority of the corals that Coral Morphologic removed from Government Cut have now been transplanted to an artificial reef about one mile south from where they originated, and where we will continue to monitor them to ensure their long-term survival. Some corals will be sent to the Smithsonian Institution for research. And the rest of the corals were brought back to our Lab, where we will document them via film and photography for a body of work titled ‘Coral City’, in which we will present them as fluorescent icons for a 21st century Miami.
While we could have rescued more corals with an extended deadline, the Miami Coral Rescue Mission is not over. It is now entering a longer-term monitoring phase in which we will continue to assess the health of surrounding coral reefs through July 2015, when the Deep Dredge project is finally slated for completion.
Seen above is a fluorescence photograph of an ultra rare hybrid staghorn coral (Acropora prolifera) living in Miami’s Government Cut waterway. Colin first introduced this coral to the world at TEDxMIA in 2011. Now the Army Corps of Engineers’ “Deep Dredge” project to expand Miami’s port capabilities will necessitate the evacuation of this and thousands of other corals before their habitat is dynamited. It is Coral Morphologic’s mission to rescue them. Find out more 7:30pm Tuesday January 21st 2014 at the University of Miami Cox Science Building Room 145.
This Friday, November 15th at 7pm, we are enthusiastic to present ‘The Psychedelic World of Coral Morphologic’ at the Pratt Institute in New York City. The event features a Q + A on the Coral Morphologic ethos, pathos, and logos, as well as the screening of short films, including the debut of our first Google Glass-made fluorescent evening-tour of the Coral Morphologic Laboratory. ‘The Psychedelic World of Coral Morphologic’ is free and open to the public.
We are psyched to announce the release of a series of skateboard decks in collaboration with MIA Skate Shop featuring the photography of three different fluorescent corals that call Miami their home. The collaboration is a logical extension of our view of Miami as the Coral City. A city whose cement buildings are metaphorical monuments to the fossilized remains of an ancient coral reef that once ran through it. Skaters will now be able to skate through a city of coral (recycled as concrete) on boards that reflect its bio-geologic past, present, and future. Miami, a city where vertebrate and invertebrate life-forms are forever bonded through calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate skeletons that were once enveloped with fluorescent coral tissue now form the foundation for a neon metropolis that mirrors its coral reefs. A metropolis with an Atlantean destiny, where corals will one day recolonize the streets and buildings as their own.
The limited edition decks (3 color-ways, hand numbered editions of 50) will be available starting Saturday, May 25 at the release party, and at both MIA shops in Miami Beach and Sunny Isles, Florida.
For the opening event of this year’s Borscht Film Festival, Coral Morphologic was commissioned to curate a night of underwater films at the New World Symphony SoundScape Park on Miami Beach. At 7,00 Square-feet, the NWS WallCast is the largest projection wall in North America, and is accompanied by a state-of-the-art immersive sound system. This night will feature the first-ever screening of our Natural History series from 2009-2011 in its entirety, followed by the world premiere of a new film, Into the Cosmic Flower Garden. The event is outdoors and tickets are free – bring your sensory perceptions, and enjoy the experience.