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Artist Colleen Flanigan's Zoe-A Living Sea Sculpture in Cozumel, Mexico, is both underwater art and coral restoration experiment. Here, master scuba trainer Ernesto Martínez helps attach found coral fragments. Image courtesy of Colleen Flanigan.

By running low-voltage electricity through the metalwork, using a technology called Biorock (1), Flanigan creates a zone of higher pH that attracts minerals to accrete on the structure. Next, she attaches coral fragments that can then cement themselves. Coral larvae and other organisms could also colonize Zoe, taking it in unpredictable directions of texture and color. The idea, although still controversial, is that the Biorock structure both provides a mineral substrate for corals to grow on and generates an electrical field that enhances the ability of coral and other marine organisms to grow faster.

Around the world, coral reefs are threatened by local stressors, such as overfishing and pollution, and global ones, such as warming waters and ocean acidification (2). Last year marked the end of a 3-year bleaching event during which high ocean temperatures in many reefs across the globe caused corals to expel their symbiotic algae, draining the corals of color and depriving them of their primary energy source (3).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jun 13th, 2018 at 12:26:33 AM EST

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