MIAMI ( Associated Press) — Humans don’t know what they’re missing beneath the surface of a busy shipping channel in the “cruise capital of the world.” Just beneath the keels of giant ships, an underwater camera provides a live feed from another world, showing marine life doing its best to counteract global warming.
That camera at Miami’s Government Cut is one of several ventures by a marine biologist and a musician on a 15-year mission to raise awareness about coral reefs to bring science and art to life in pop culture .
His Company – Coral Morphologic – Bringing up stunning images, putting up gorgeous closeups of underwater creatures on social media, setting up time-lapse videos of waving, shining coral to music and projecting it onto buildings , even selling a coral-themed beachwear line.
“We are not all art. We are not all science. We are not all tech. We are an alchemist,” said Colin Ford, who defies the look of a typical scientist, with blue hair so spiky it was an electric form He and his business partner, JD McKay, sat down with the Associated Press to showcase their work.
One of his most popular projects is the Coral City CameraWhich has recently been viewed 2 million times and usually has around 100 viewers online at any given time each day.
“We’re going to be able to actually document a year of coral growth that has never been done in situ on a coral reef before, and it’s only possible because we have this technical connection at the port of Miami that Allows us to have electricity and the Internet,” Ford said.
Livestreams have already revealed that staghorns and other corals can adapt and thrive in highly urbanized underwater environments, along with 177 species of fish, dolphins, manatees and other marine life, Ford said.
“We have very resilient coral growing here. Our primary goal of getting this underwater was to show people that there is a lot of marine life right here in our city,” Ford said.
Meanwhile, McKay sounds like a Broadway producer as he describes how he also films the creatures in his Miami lab, growing coral in tanks to prepare them for closeups in brilliant color.
“We essentially build a set with one of these aquariums, and then obviously there’s the actors — coral or shrimp or whatever — and then we film it, and then I get a vibe, whatever Might as well be in the scene, and then I soundtrack it with some ambient-like sounds, something very nautical,” McKay explained.
His latest production, “Coral City Florotaur, “New World Center to be Shown on Wallscape As of this week the Aspen Institute holds a major climate conference in Miami Beach. Ford is speaking at a panel on how the ocean’s natural systems can help humans learn to combat the effects of climate change. The title of the thing? “Ocean is a superhero.”
“I think that when we can recognize that we are this one family of life and that everything is intertwined, then hopefully we can make meaningful change now, so that future generations will be saved from forest fires and meltdowns. Don’t have to live in a world of icy ice and the dead ocean,” Ford told the Associated Press.
Their mission is urgent: After 500 million years on Earth, these species are under attack from climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warming oceans induce coral bleaching and increase the risk of infectious diseases that can cause mass die-offs in coral. Strong storms and changes in water chemistry can destroy rock formations, while altered currents shed food and larvae.
“Climate change is the single greatest global threat to coral reef ecosystems,” NOAA said in a recent report.,
It is found in the second part of the name of the coral morphologic. “What does it mean to be morphological? It really means to adapt because the environment is always changing,” Ford said.
The staghorn, elkhorn and brain corals that live in Government Cut provide a real-world example of how coral communities can adapt to things like rising heat and polluted runoff, even in an unpredictable setting like the Port of Miami. In too. His videos have documented fluorescence in some coral, an unusual reaction in offshore waters that Ford said could protect them from solar rays.
“The port is an invaluable location for coral research,” Ford said. “We have to be realistic. You won’t be able to return ecosystems to the way they were 200 years ago. The options we have left are more radical.”
Beyond science, there are clothes, Coral sells a line of Morphologic surf and swimwear that takes designs from flowering anemones and brain coral and uses environmentally sustainable materials such as a type of nylon recycled from old fishing nets.
“We see the power of technology connecting people to nature. We’re lucky as artists, and the corals are benefiting,” Ford said.
Jackson reported from Miami and Anderson from St. Petersburg, Florida.