Welcome to a treasure! Coral Reefs are the most diverse of all ecosystems on our planet, making up less than 1% of the ocean floor and yet home to over 25% of the world's ocean life. The Florida Coral Reef tract, which is nearly 200 nautical miles long, making it the third-largest reef in the world, begins just north of Biscayne National Park and stretches past Puerto Rico.
“Treasure” represents the most pristine version of what our coral reef has been in the past, and what it could be again if we take notice of the impacts on our precious American Reef. Today, our reef suffers from poor water quality due to sewage leakage, which is also a health hazard to people, and the aggressive “Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease” that has consumed a large portion of the remaining endangered stony corals.
These corals include Pillar Coral (The green coral seen in the left corner of the piece with the Eel) and Staghorn (The orange coral on the right). Stony corals like these are the reef builders of this habitat, over time creating rock-like mounds for other life to grip and form. Without the continued protection and reintroduction of these types of corals on our reef, we would witness the disintegration of a 7,000-year-old coral reef system in less than 100 years, unless we can learn to shift the fundamental values of our society from that of consumption to that of sustainability, accountability and balance with nature.